KiwiNet – successful innovation funding for some of our young scientists
The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) is a New Zealand network of public research organisations, working together to transform scientific discoveries into marketable products and services. KiwiNet acts as a channel for collaboration, empowering people by helping them to access the tools, connections, investment, and support they need to commercialise research. It runs an Emerging Innovator Programme, open to early career researchers based at universities and Crown Research Institutes across New Zealand.
Manaaki Whenua is a partner in KiwiNet, along with Plant & Food Research, Callaghan Innovation, AgResearch, Otago Innovation, Lincoln University, University of Canterbury, Viclink, WaikatoLink, AUT Enterprises Ltd, Cawthron Institute, Environmental Science & Research, NIWA, Scion, GNS Science and the Malaghan Institute.
Scientists identified as KiwiNet Emerging Innovators at Manaaki Whenua this year include:
- Chris Smith, who has successfully cultivated three New Zealand native mushroom species historically eaten by Māori using prepared wood-based growth media in controlled conditions. The project is looking at the potential to produce these fungi as a gourmet food for high-end restaurants.
- Patrick Garvey, who is exploring a natural lure to attract stoats and weasels to traps, based on observation that stoats are attracted to the odour of ferrets. The project has concentrated on isolating the chemical compounds responsible for this attraction.
- Matteo Poggio, who has completed his Emerging Innovator Programme on rapid spectroscopic (infra-red) methods for soil analyses to provide highly accurate and cost-effective estimations of selected soil attributes, bypassing time-consuming and expensive traditional analytical techniques. Models for chemical and physical soil properties have been developed and tested.