Tech Jumpstart winners propose bold commercial innovations
An innovative system protecting plants against pests and adverse weather, and a pioneering technique for assessing
damage, such as that caused by earthquakes to steel rebars on built structures, are just two of five winners in this
year’s University of Canterbury (UC) Tech Jumpstart competition
In its eighth year, Tech Jumpstart gives UC researchers a chance to transform their ideas and research into a commercial
Five prizes of $20,000 were awarded with funding from KiwiNet. Additionally, technology incubators WNT Ventures and
Astrolab will provide $35,000 each worth of practical services to the top two projects which showed the most commercial
Services from the technology incubators put the winning ideas through rigorous processes including financial analysis,
strategic planning, market validation and capital raising with an eye on forming a start-up business to commercialise
Deputy Vice-Chancellor |Tumu Tuarua Ian Wright said the research, innovation and commercialisation efforts demonstrate
UC is an innovative institution producing ideas that potentially hold strong commercial appeal in New Zealand and
“The Tech Jumpstart competition takes innovative research ideas to an exciting new level of exploring commercial
opportunity. The commercial potential of these ideas makes UC more attractive to investor groups, furthers intellectual
capability and gains more leverage with government, private research and consulting opportunities.”
WNT Ventures prize:
Botanic environmental management system
Associate Professor David Leung
A novel system for protecting plants from pests, infection and adverse weather. The biodegradable system is designed to
give protection during critical stages of the plant lifecycle. It has the potential to protect much of New Zealand’s
horticultural exports, including kiwifruit, apples, citrus and grapes.
Laser detection of nitrates in waterways and soils
Dr Deborah Crittenden and Associate Professor Sally Gaw
An innovative laser detection tool with the ability to measure nitrates in the field using both soil and water samples.
It promises to be portable and cost-effective with a low-environmental impact and the capability of selecting only
nitrates from the sample, avoiding other deposits or substances with similar structures. With the introduction of new
legislative caps on nitrogen discharge, a portable nitrate measuring tool would enable farmers to conveniently measure
nitrate levels on the farm, helping them to keep discharges within the new limits.
High-performance printed heat exchangers
Professor Conan Fee and Dr Tim Huber
An original class of heat exchangers that could be a game changer in design and efficiency. Using 3D printing
technology, this project offers new possibilities in fields including motorsport, air conditioners or laptop processors
where cooling can take place faster in radical new shapes while providing increasingly important reductions in weight.
In-situ damage detection
Giuseppe Loporcaro and Professor Milo Kral
A pioneering technique for assessing damage (for example, after earthquakes) to steel rebars on built structures (such
as buildings or bridges) on site, rather than existing, more time-consuming methods. Key advantages of the method
include reliable results and the ability to perform tests on site rather than in the lab.
Miniature electrochemical sensing elements for detection of nitrate
Dr Vladimir Golovko and Dr Aaron Marshall
A novel electrochemical sensing system for nitrates. Along the lines of a digital thermometer, the electrode has the
advantages of long life and durability, plus the ability to send information via a networked monitoring system. This
would provide regional councils with a real-time view of nitrates in waterways across their catchment areas, enabling
them to enforce the new legislative caps on nitrogen discharge.