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Source: Massey University

Professor Jason Wargent and the Massey FERRI PRO IP Sale team

Massey University has two finalists in the eighth annual KiwiNet Awards, who have been recognised for their contribution to advancing science through successful research commercialisation.

The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) is a consortium of 18 universities, Crown Research Institutes, an Independent Research Organisation and a Crown Entity established to boost commercial outcomes from publicly funded research.

Professor Jason Wargent from the School of Agriculture and Environment, and Massey University ‘FERRI PRO’ IP sale have been selected as finalists in this year’s awards in the Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur Award and the PwC Commercial Impact Award respectively. 

Professor Jason Wargent is Cheif Science Officer and Founder of BioLumic

he Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur Award recognises an entrepreneurial researcher who has made outstanding contributions to business innovation or has created innovative businesses in New Zealand through technology licencing, start-up creation or by providing expertise to support business innovation.

Professor Wargent has been recognised for his work on ‘bringing a next-generation sustainable ag technology to global food production’.

 “It is fantastic for our commercialisation endeavours to be recognised by KiwiNet in this year’s finals. Translating promising research into commercial reality is an exciting and challenging journey, and is mission-critical to breaking new ground for agricultural sustainability.”

Professor Wargent is a plant biologist who has dedicated his career to developing new scientific knowledge that can be exploited in sustainable crop production. A Massey academic staff member for nearly 10 years, Jason spun his research out of Massey in 2013 to found BioLumic, an Agtech start-up company which exploits plant responses to light to induce agriculturally desirable crop traits, without the need for chemicals or GM approaches.

“Massey’s support for research spin-out has been key to BioLumic’s evolution, leading to the creation of additional opportunities for innovation along the way,” Professor Wargent says.

The Ferri Pro team developed a technology to address iron deficiency 

The Massey team behind the “FERRI PRO” IP sale are finalists in the PwC Commercial impact award, which celebrates excellence in research commercialisation and the potential for generating significant economic impact for New Zealand.

The unique technology, FERRI PRO (TM)  was developed to address iron deficiency, without adversely affecting the taste of food and beverages. It was developed by Massey University researchers at the Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) hosted by Massey in the Manawatū and then the patent was sold to Nestlé, the world’s largest global food brand.

KiwiNet Chief Executive Officer  Dr James Hutchinson says New Zealand’s future depends on cutting-edge research discoveries with commercial promise to rebuild the economy and to create new opportunities. “KiwiNet is inspired by the wave of incredible research discoveries coming out of our universities and research institutes, with the potential to transform lives. 

“We’re proud to celebrate the people and teams who are championing the best ideas to make a difference to New Zealand and the world.”

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