While exactly what projects the union will focus on in 2016 are yet to be disclosed, through the partnership, Spark will “contribute to Colab’s courses giving students real-world, commercial problems to work on and solve”.
Spark staff will also offer practical assistance on student projects.
Established in 2008, Colab aims to unite students and industry specialists – including artists, scientists, engineers, gamers and business leaders – in the spirit of creative collaboration.
Rod Snodgrass, head of Spark Ventures, says that Spark is focusing on developing technology and digital services that “enhance lives and businesses”, and the best way to do that is through collaboration.
“I’ve always thought that to achieve things like this, corporates, start-ups and universities need to find more ways to work together and contribute to innovation here in New Zealand and globally.”
AUT Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack says that Spark’s unique approach to innovation makes the telco a perfect match for AUT.
“Colab has advanced models of collaborative and integrated research and practice and is operating in ways that are very different from how universities have operated in the past,” he says. “Spark is also doing things differently from traditional telcos, and has a proven track record in innovation and entrepreneurship. Because of these shared traits we felt it would be an excellent partner for Colab.”