The Product Accelerator Agritech Hub, located within “The Engine” on the AgResearch campus in Palmerston North will support companies and research to accelerate commercial opportunities into local and international markets. The Engine is a new initiative that combines the best of Massey’s academic abilities, along with expertise in the translation of those abilities, to support companies to solve problems and realise growth opportunities.
Associate Professor Mark Jones, co-director of the Product Accelerator, says, “We have developed a ‘pull science’ model of assisting New Zealand companies with technology solutions by tapping into the collective capability in our network and across the New Zealand Research and Development community. Massey’s contribution has played a key role in our success.
“The Product Accelerator core team is based at the University of Auckland’s Newmarket campus and the formation of another hub in Palmerston North formalises the relationship with Massey. This new hub will facilitate easier access to our New Zealand-wide network for companies in the central North Island,” he adds.
“We have another hub being established at Victoria University later this year and we are in discussions with some of our other partners for similar Product Accelerator hubs throughout New Zealand. These hubs will play a major role in creating a more collaborative and expanded technology network for the benefit of NZ enterprises.”
Massey University has been a key partner in the Product Accelerator since it formed with funding under the Ministry for Building, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Enabling Technology platform in 2013. Since then, the Product Accelerator has worked with around 400 companies, generating product revenues of approximately $175m – an excellent return on MBIE funding of $12.8m. In recognition of this impact, the Product Accelerator was funded for a further four years in the 2019 Wellbeing Budget under the Industry Futures initiative.
Massey’s AgriFood Digital Lab is an industry-focused research centre with a wide research spectrum including horticulture, precision agriculture, robotics, advanced materials, sports analytics and biotechnology. A suite of advanced technologies including electronics, robotics, Information Technology, computer science, data science, 3D printing, material science, sensor development, machine learning, image processing, coding, and industrial design unite the research group. MAFDL projects focus on developing AgriTech solutions to overcome challenges across a number of industries.
MAFDL Director, Professor Andrew East is delighted the university is partnering with the Product Accelerator to form the hub.
“Professor Johan Potgieter, a leader of the facility, is a founding member of the Product Accelerator and has made significant contributions to, and benefited from, the collaboration and its connections, with many of the commercial projects undertaken by MAFDL emanating from the Product Accelerator’s collaborative model. We see this hub as a natural extension of the MAFDL’s capability and an opportunity for Massey to lead the way in areas such as sensing and automation, for which Johan is so well known.”
Massey University Professor of Robotics Johan Potgieter says, “We have created a hub for some of the most outstanding innovation, robotics, IOT, and 3D printing supporting the newly established Product Accelerator Agritech Hub.”
The Product Accelerator is a collaboration of New Zealand universities and Crown Research Institute GNS Science.