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Prof. Geoff Willmott - University of Auckland

Prof. Geoff Willmott - University of Auckland

Deep Tech and Manufacturing in New Zealand

“Deep Tech”, a term that has become an investor buzzword over the past decade, is used to describe the translation of research-intensive, hard-won innovations and discoveries. Deep tech usually emerges from science and engineering research facilities. It is characterized by long development times requiring committed investors, as well as the stability and flexibility provided by distinct, valuable IP. In New Zealand, deep tech has mostly been considered in the context of commercialization (e.g. start-up companies and/or licensing strategies) and is making strong contributions in areas such a clean tech innovation. In contrast, the potential for our researchers to contribute to local manufacturers and other established companies is relatively underdeveloped - we have unexploited capability and connections which can generate global competitive advantages through advanced processes and materials. This presentation will discuss this topic primarily from the point of view of our researchers, drawing on the speaker’s industry engagement experience within NZ and UK tertiary institutions, a Centre of Research Excellence and a CRI. There will be specific discussion on the role of the Faculty of Science at the University of Auckland.

About the Presenter:

Geoff Willmott is a Professor at the University of Auckland, holding a joint appointment between the Department of Physics and the School of Chemical Sciences. He spent 5 years as Deputy Director for Commercialisation and Industry Engagement in the MacDiarmid Institute (2018-23), and is currently co-Deputy Head of Department (Research) in Physics. He obtained a PhD in shock physics at the University of Cambridge in 2005, then returned to New Zealand to a postdoctoral position with the Nano and Micro Fluidics team at Industrial Research Limited (now Callaghan Innovation) in Lower Hutt, where he developed an interest in nanofluidics. He has had research collaborations with industrial partners including Qinetiq, de Beers, Izon Science, Ecomist, and Fonterra, and previously worked in management consultancy.