NZDF moves to commercialise Defence technology

24 November 2011

The New Zealand Defence Force is working with Auckland UniServices to exploit and commercialise intellectual property generated by the Defence Technology Agency (DTA) – its centre of excellence for defence science, research and development.

The move implements recommendations made in the independent review of the agency earlier this year, commissioned by the Minister of Defence, Hon Dr Wayne Mapp.

UniServices, which is owned by The University of Auckland, is the largest research and commercial development company of its kind in Australasia. It is a substantial company with over 700 employees around the world and an annual turnover of NZ$150 million. UniServices are experienced at managing and protecting intellectual property to create valuable commercial outcomes.

“In the past five years, we have created more than 100 new licenses based on inventions from The University of Auckland and our start-up companies have attracted $226 million into New Zealand from global investors. One of UniServices’ core aims is to help innovative Kiwi companies achieve their goals,” says UniServices chief executive Dr. Peter Lee.

Vice Chief of Defence Force, Rear Admiral Jack Steer, says the Memorandum of Understanding between UniServices and the Defence Force is part of the move by the NZDF to look at more innovative ways of working.

“We have several products with commercial potential so we will be leveraging off the expertise and international knowledge of a proven company rather than try to grow these skills ourselves.

“In the future we will be looking to the DTA to generate income which will be reinvested in our military capability,” he says.

"We expect that in the future the DTA will be an integral part of the Government's advanced technology institute initiative, working alongside high-tech institutions around New Zealand.

"This move is the first big step in realising the DTA's potential. It builds on a long-standing contract research and development relationship developed between UniServices, The University of Auckland and the DTA."

UniServices' Dr Lee says: “We are excited about the prospect of combining our excellence in commercialisation with the innovation of DTA and look forward to many valuable applications to result from this creative combination of capabilities.”

A Technical Advisory Board will be established and include representatives of both organisations to provide guidance and direction on research programmes and oversight of commercialisation activities.

The NZDF is implementing other recommendations made in the review which was chaired by Rear Admiral (Retired) David Ledson.

Rear Admiral Jack Steer says: “Science and technology is an increasingly important part of our military capability so the NZDF will be looking to the DTA to provide more direct support for our capability development.”

Media contacts:

David Balham, Acting Strategic Public Relations and Communications Manager, NZDF: 04 496 0296; 021 487 980.

This page was last reviewed on 25 November 2011.