KiwiNet appoints new CEO to lead the transformation of New Zealand’s science into economic success

Dr Hutchinson has experience in supporting research and innovation in the UK and internationally with a particular focus on the life sciences and global societal challenges. He led a team of programme specialists to develop and implement a platform of science policy, advocacy, networking, conferences, workshops and other initiatives, working in close partnership with the international chemical science community. He is an experienced project leader who has a strong track record of working with government, industry and academia at senior levels.

Dr Hutchinson is also a Junior Policy Fellow of the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) at the University of Cambridge, UK, having authored over 20 pieces of science policy covering strategic reports, government consultation responses and position statements. He led a successful campaign to the UK Government in 2013, on behalf of the broader chemical science community, to protect public investment in science, and has participated in several advisory groups and expert panels to government bodies and NGOs.

The Honourable Ruth Richardson, Chair of KiwiNet, says that the Board’s unanimous decision to appoint Dr Hutchinson is a vote of confidence in the benchstrength of the KiwiNet team, commenting, ”James represents a generation of kiwis who have excelled abroad and come home to take leadership positions. James has the skill set and ambition to take the  KiwiNet mission to a new level of effectiveness in the cause of converting more of the promising innnovations and ideas in our universities and Crown Research Institutes into commercial success.”

KiwiNet’s PreSeed investment partners have invested over $26.7 million into more than 500 projects since 2003. To date PreSeed investment (provided by the Ministry of Innnovation Business and Employment) has led to over 153 commercial deals attracting over $114 million of business investment and 27 new start-up companies. Collectively, KiwiNet’s investments into research commericalisation are generating a greater than five-fold return on investment to New Zealand and this is growing.

Dr Hutchinson is eager to build on this momentum, identifying several critical interventions that will underpin future success. He comments, ”New Zealand needs to build commercial aspiration into the DNA of our scientists and young people, to create a pipeline of smart innovators who are mentored and nutured. This needs to be accompanied by early and regular engagement with our investment community, particularly at the early stages, in order to attract the attention of the big international players that will take our technology to the world. KiwiNet needs to widen and better curate the channel that commericalises technology innnovations from our research organisations to market.”

”If New Zealand technology is to compete on the world stage, better collaboration is a key ingredient.  KiwiNet has led the way, by creating a truly collaborative environment in which research organisations are working together to commercialise research discoveries.  We’ve established the platform and now is the time to scale-up this approach to maximise the translation of Kiwi science into commercial opportunity for New Zealand.”