Universities in New Zealand help staff, students commercialise research findings

Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018 08:58

A speaker at a seminar in HCM City on Tuesday describes how universities in New Zealand help students and staff commercialise their research findings. — VNS Photo

Pioneering approaches to research innovation powered by industry engagement and commercialisation were the highlight of a seminar on “Commercialising University Innovation – The New Zealand Story” in HCM City on Tuesday.

Jointly organised by Education New Zealand (ENZ) and Saigon Innovation Hub (SIHUB) for the first time, the seminar attracted experts from seven universities in New Zealand who spoke about outstanding practices that have had a positive impact in the country.

A representative from Massey University discussed the university’s fresh approach to innovation, driven by design based on new technologies and human needs.

This type of thinking radically redefines what a product could mean for people and sets forth a new pathway for product development, the representative said.

Another New Zealand school, the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), has set up AUT Ventures to help its students and staff commercialise their research.

Under this venture, a programme called Colab: Creative Technologies offers a dynamic, interdisciplinary research and teaching space that interfaces and engages with the schools in the faculty, the wider university, and beyond.

Colab builds productive partnerships that enhance both the student experience and the research reputation of the university.

Karlene Davis, New Zealand’s Consul General and Trade Commissioner to Vietnam, said: “For decades, New Zealand has enjoyed a strong relationship with Viet Nam and in recent times we have set ambitious goals for enhanced partnerships between the two countries.

I certainly believe that our research expertise has a lot to offer Viet Nam and I’m sure the information shared today will be a fantastic starting point for discussions on Viet Nam’s demand for innovation, as well as the local universities’ needs for industry engagement, research and commercialisation.”

In the science field, the University of Otago uses different platforms to discuss challenges and strategies to transfer science and technology findings to industry applications in the area of food and health.

From the product development based on the work by university students, to co-research and innovation with industry, the institution aims to stimulate connections with industries and pave the way for commercialisation of student and staff research.

In the business area, to support economic transformation and the creation of wealth, the University of Auckland Business School (UABS) fosters a spirit of enterprise and innovation, reflecting a mindset grounded in flexible, adaptive and engaging activities.

Ministry strategy

According to Viet Nam’s Ministry of Education and Training, during the 2012 – 2030 period, one of the key strategies to develop tertiary education in Viet Nam is to enhance the quality and commercial viability of scientific research.

This strategy is designed to realise the government’s vision of a knowledge-based economy and to enhance the country’s competitiveness at an international level, leading to future prosperity.

At the institutional level, embracing innovation excellence through industry engagement and commercialisation helps facilitate university autonomy as well as the formation and development of an entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem within Vietnamese universities.

Last year, New Zealand’s education system was ranked as the world’s best, according to the Economist Intelligence’s Educating for the Future Index.

The collaboration between education providers and industry, and investment in innovation were the key elements, especially for tertiary education.

All of New Zealand’s eight universities are research-based institutions.

The investment enables institutions to attract world-class academic staff and build extensive library resources, excellent research facilities and state-of-the-art information technology. All students have spaces to work and develop ideas with strong support from their institutions. — VNS

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