Archive for the ‘Science organisations’ Category

Former Labour Minister appointed chair of Callaghan Innovation

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods  has announced the appointment of Pete Hodgson as the new Chair of the Callaghan Innovation Board.

Callahan Innovation is the Government’s business innovation agency and offers several  services aimed at accelerating the commercialisation of research.

Mr Hodgson is a former Minister of Research, Science and Technology and Chief Executive of Otago Innovation.

The Minister said she was delighted he has agreed to use his experience in science and technology-based innovation to lead the Board and provide strategic direction to Callaghan Innovation.

She thanked outgoing Chair Sue Suckling for her work over the past five years in leading the establishment and growth of the agency.

Mr Hodgson will begin his new role on April 1 for a period of three years.

It’s not the first job he has landed since the change of government.

Last month Health Minister David Clark sacked the Dunedin Hospital rebuild chairman, Hawke’s Bay consultant Andrew Blair, and appointed Mr Hodgson to lead the project.

Dr Clark told the Otago Daily Times the rebuild needed to be led by a local person.

Mr Hodgson was Dr Clark’s predecessor as MP in Dunedin North, serving from 1990 to 2011.



Two new appointments to Callaghan Innovation Board

Two new appointments to the Board of Callaghan Innovation have been announced.

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith said the appointments of Stefan Korn and George Gong bring a strong combination of strategic thinking skills and perspective from an investor community.

Stefan Korn is an entrepreneur, business strategist and investor with more than 10 years of experience in managing high-growth ventures, early-stage investment and software development. He was a member of the Callaghan Innovation Stakeholder Advisory Group, is a founding investor in Lightning Lab, and has a PhD in Neural Networks/Artificial Intelligence and an MBA in International Business.

George Gong is an entrepreneur and Angel Investor with international business experiences in the Information Technology industry for more than 20 years. In 2016 he started Zino Ventures, the first Chinese angel fund in New Zealand.

Both appointments are for a term of one year.

Callaghan Innovation welcomes two new board members

Callaghan Innovation chair Sue Suckling has welcomed incoming members George Gong and Stefan Korn to the board, to succeed outgoing board members Alison Barrass and Richard Janes.

George Gong is an entrepreneur and angel investor with more than 20 years’ business experience in the information technology industry. In 2016, he started Zino Ventures, the first Chinese angel fund in New Zealand. Mr Gong has strong connections to China, where he began his career and  co-founded Beyondsoft.

Stefan Korn has been a member of the Callaghan Innovation Stakeholder Advisory Group and  runs CreativeHQ, a leading business incubator that works with more than 190 start-up ventures and was a founding investor in Lightning Lab.

Callaghan Innovation is the Government’s business innovation agency, connecting businesses to the networks, capability and funding they need to translate their ideas into products. It boosts business R&D through more than $140 million a year in grants.

Nominations for Marsden Fund Council chair and members are invited

The Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment is inviting nominations for the roles of chair of the Marsden Fund Council and for up to six council members.

The Marsden Fund invests in investigator-led research aimed at generating new knowledge, with long-term benefit to New Zealand. It supports projects that advance and expand the knowledge base and contributes to the development of people with advanced skills in New Zealand.

The fund is overseen by the council of researchers who are appointed by the Minister of Science and Innovation.

The council, responsible for the strategic direction of the fund, is supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand which provides executive support and secretariat services.

The new chairman will lead the council, encourage continual improvement and ensure best practice in the design of fund settings.

The term is for up to three years. The chair needs to be available from December 2017.

The chair’s fees are set at $20,000 a year.

The successful candidates for council positions are expected to ensure there is an appropriate range of research and governance skills and experience of international funding bodies on the council.

The term for members is for up to three years. Members need to be available from March 1 2018.

Fees are set at $10,000 a year.

Individuals may nominate themselves for the jobs of chair or council members.

Expressions of interest and nominations should be submitted by 5pm September 22.

Candidates for the role of chair will also be considered for appointment to the council as members.

More information HERE and HERE.

New research institutes announced for Bay of Plenty and Westland

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced a new Regional Research Institute based in Tauranga to leverage the Bay of Plenty’s strengths in horticulture, accelerating and commercialising research and innovation for the benefit of the region.

It is the second such announcement this week.

Plantech: the New Zealand Institute for Technology and Innovation in Premium Plant-based Value Chains, led by the economic development agency, Priority One, is the fourth successful proposal under the Government’s initiative to establish new regional Research Institutes.

The Government will provide funding of $8.42 million over five years for the new institute alongside additional funding from industry. It will operate as a private, independently governed organisation.

Plantech will initially focus on research to enable digital automation of devices for growers, including robotics and digital sensing, with the aim of becoming a leader in supporting customised, precise and automated production systems that are accessible for businesses at a range of scales.

“This research will increase effective development, adoption and adaptation of new technology which will improve the productivity and sustainability of the Horticulture sector. This has the potential to drive significant economic benefits for the region,” Mr Goldsmith says.

The announcement of the new institute through the Regional Research Institute initiative comes as the Bay of Plenty launches its refreshed Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Action Plan.

The Action Plan is a regionally led collaboration between local and central government, business and iwi that aims to increase jobs, income and investment in the Bay of Plenty. Regional economic development is a key part of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda and is supported through the Regional Growth Programme.

More information can be found on the MBIE website, HERE.

Yesterday Goldsmith announced a new Regional Research Institute based in Greymouth that will use innovative research and manufacturing techniques to unlock the potential of New Zealand’s minerals resources.

The New Zealand Institute for Minerals to Materials Research is led by an industry organisation, Minerals West Coast Trust.

The Government will provide funding of $11 million over four years for it. With additional funding from industry, it too will operate as a private, independently governed organisation.

The institute will explore three research areas initially, including purifying rare earth elements for use in magnets and lasers, extracting tungsten from gold mining waste and developing a carbon foam pilot plant.

The announcement of the new institute through the Regional Research Institute initiative comes as the West Coast launches its Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Action Plan. The West Coast was included in the Government’s Regional Growth Programme in November 2015. The programme aims to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand.

More information can be found on the MBIE website, HERE.

Broad range of research topics covered in Royal Society lecture series

The Royal Society Te Aparangi has announced a nationwide lecture series hosted by its branches to demonstrate the range of research being carried out throughout New Zealand.

The lectures are part of the society’s 150th anniversary activities.

Each talk will include a presentation and video celebrating the society’s past and looking to the future, led by Professor Richard Bedford, the society’s president.

Topics range from human heat stress due to rising temperatures and humidity in response to climate change to future food and developments in pest management for pipfruit crops.

Gene editing to improve the national dairy herd is another of the topics.

Professor Bedfored describes it as “a broad and intriguing collection of research we can be proud of.”

The events are free but a donation to support branch activities would be appreciated.

More details can be found HERE.

Scientists are cautioned against including personal attacks in debates

Scientists have been advised to conduct their debates according to the science , not the personalities, in a letter sent by the Association of Scientists.

The letter to members reminded them of the Royal Society’s Code of Professional Standards and Ethics that say members must try to obtain and present facts and interpretations in an objective and open manner.

Your editor could  find no mention of the letter on the association’s website this morning (although the search was a quick one).

According to a Radio New Zealand report (HERE) the reminder of the rules followed Jacqueline Rowarth from the Environmental Protection Agency and soil scientist Doug Edmeades taking part in a radio discussion about whether prominent freshwater ecologist Mike Joy should be labelled an extremist.

RNZ said Dr Rowarth and Dr Edmeades appeared on Jamie Mackay’s radio show The Country last month as part of a panel discussion entitled: ‘Is Dr Mike Joy an extremist or does he have a point?

It also mentioned Dr Edmeades’ opinion piece titled ‘Is Mike Joy a biased scientist?

According to RNZ, the president of the Association of Scientists, Craig Stevens said there had been a lot of concern from members about scientists being attacked and not the science.

“In this particular area we’re talking about freshwater and land use.

“It’s an issue that’s incredibly important for New Zealand from a number of perspectives.

“We were concerned that some of this was proceeding in the media in a way that was not helpful for getting the facts across.”

The RNZ report includes comments on the association’s letter from Dr Joy and Dr Edmeades.

Jacqueline Rowarth declined to comment.