AgResearch is among the latest recipients of start-up funds

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has made an announcement which gives AgScience readers a chance to see how public science funding – some of it, anyway – is being dispensed.

He named the successful recipients of the 2016 PreSeed Accelerator Fund.

AgResearch was one of the successful applicants. The others were  Auckland UniServices, Scion, KiwiNet, Otago Innovation and Massey University.

Each of these organisations will be funded to transform scientific discoveries into commercial products and services.

The Pre-Seed Accelerator Fund was set up to support the commercialisation of publicly funded research technologies to the point where new companies can be formed or the technology licensed or sold to existing businesses.

Budget 2016 increased the fund from $14.9 million to $24.9 million over three years.

The increase was intended to enable research organisations to undertake more and larger commercialisation projects.

PreSeed Accelerator investment has so far resulted in revenues to research organisations in excess of $188 million, new jobs and new companies, and “the potential” for up to $3 billion in export earnings, Joyce said.

PreSeed funding had been instrumental in creating companies and commercial products such as Aduro Biopolymers from the University of Waikato, ArcActive spun out from the University of Canterbury, CropLogic from Plant & Food Research, HaloIPT and PowerbyProxi spun out from the University of Auckland, the Ethylene Release Canister technology from Plant & Food Research, Forecaster DSS from Scion, Invert Robotics from the University of Canterbury, and the TOXINZ database developed by the University of Otago.

Almost all of the public research organisations in New Zealand would have access to funding through this programme, Joyce said.

“This is a significant investment in the commercial returns from research, and I look forward to this round’s successful applicants leading further advances in commercialisation in New Zealand.”

The Minister’s press statement gave no details about how the winning applicants intend spending their money and what they expect will emerge from  it.

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