Media Release 23 October 2008
Celebrating A University Research Success Story
Commercialisation of university research is currently generating a billion dollars for the New Zealand economy through
the market capitalisation of spin-out companies.
A publication outlining that success story will be launched at a function at the University of Auckland today. Produced
by the universities’ representative body, the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, in conjunction with University
Commercialisation Offices of NZ, the publication contains six case studies where the commercial potential of university
research outputs have been realised.
The case studies involve the application of research centred on safe transmission of electric currents, cheap and
efficient energy generation in the home, environmental management and medical advances.
NZVCC chair Professor Roger Field says linkages between universities, other research providers and private business are
especially important in a small country like New Zealand.
“Many of our firms are too small to engage in research and development themselves. Universities help by providing the
expertise and knowledge to carry out this research. Strong linkages are required at each stage of the transfer process
to ensure that the full benefits of such research are captured.”
Subtitled “paying dividends for New Zealand”, the university research commercialisation publication shows the market
capitalisation of university start-up companies has risen rapidly, from $76 million in 2003 to $1.1 billion in 2006.
A research and development survey carried out by Statistics NZ reveals that research in New Zealand universities is
worth almost $600 million a year to the universities, accounting for a third of all R carried out in this country. The commercialisation of that research provides a far greater return to the economy.
Professor Field says the activity underlines universities’ key role in shifting the New Zealand economy from a reliance
on commodities to knowledge-based products with a higher value.
“The success story of the university commercialisation companies is not necessarily well understood and the NZVCC
thought it time to share that success more widely.
“Universities can show the pay off to New Zealand and its people from the substantial investment the Government and
public make in university teaching and research. Whether it be developing professional careers or assisting the
Government attain its economic and social goals through commercialisation of research, universities make a vital
contribution in our society.”