An underwater robot and a portable winemaking system are just some of the innovations being advanced at the New Zealand Product Accelerator programme, visited today by Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith.

“Science-led innovation plays an important role in lifting the living standards of New Zealanders, by lifting our productivity and strengthening our businesses,” says Mr Goldsmith.

“The NZ Product Accelerator programme is an innovative model for collaborative R&D that brings together researchers and industry to progress technologies, particularly in the manufacturing sector, to accelerate product development and create new market opportunities.”

The government-funded initiative, housed at the University of Auckland’s Newmarket campus, is currently in year four of a $12.7 million six year programme, and has collaborated with businesses on nearly 170 industrial projects covering a wider range of disciplines and applications.

“This programme has been designed to bridge the gap between research and commercialisation. What is truly impressive is the range of projects the programme supports,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“One of the projects under development is a new underwater robot which has been developed by start-up company Boxfish Research. The robot has wide ranging applications in aquaculture and environmental monitoring and is set to be trialled by industry in the near future.

The Product Accelerator team is also supporting Wine Grenade, which has designed a portable wine maturation device to make better red wine, faster.

The Product Accelerator partnered with Wine Grenade in the product development process and has helped them to complete a commercial trial in Hawke’s Bay.

“The Product Accelerator is having an impact all around New Zealand, to help fund innovative research into commercialising everything from tree planting robots, to improving New Zealand's Olympic track cycles, and temporary accommodation solutions following natural disasters.”

“Building a more productive and competitive economy is a priority for the Government, and initiatives such as the NZ Product Accelerator are essential for bringing that vision to life,” Mr Goldsmith says.

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