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UC senior lecturer a finalist in Kiwi innovation awards

02 Jun 2018

Remember having to replace batteries? Yeah me neither.

That could soon be the discussion among our youth if a chemistry expert from the University of Canterbury (UC) has anything to do with it.

Dr Deborah Crittenden is a finalist in the sixth annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards that are designed to recognise and celebrate impact from science through successful research commercialisation in New Zealand universities and Crown Research Institutes.

Dr Crittenden is working on a number of exciting technologies that work to deliver environmental sustainability, with some of her recent work including infinitely rechargeable batteries and real-time nitrate sensors.

A senior lecturer in UC’s School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, Dr Crittenden is one of three finalists in the award category celebrating breakthrough innovators.

She is currently working on designing new energy storage liquids for use in redox flow batteries, and a novel nitrate sensor system based upon laser-induced photochemistry coupled to simple, low-cost detection methods.

In 2017, a spin-out company, Flow Holdings, was established to develop Dr Crittenden's molecular design work of a prototype redox flow battery. Discussions are ongoing around partnering with industry to further advance and commercialise Dr Crittenden's nitrate sensor design, which has already attracted pre-incubation funding.

The 2018 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards finalists are:

Norman F. B. Barry Foundation Breakthrough Innovator Award

• Dr Andrew Kralicek, Plant & Food Research: Harnessing insects' receptors for commercial sensing.
• Dr Deborah Crittenden, University of Canterbury: Infinitely rechargeable batteries; real-time nitrate sensors.
• Dr Vlatko Materic, Hot Lime Labs: "Hot Lime" to increase greenhouse crop yields and help feed the world.

Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur Award

• Professor David Williams, University of Auckland and MacDiarmid Institute: Air Quality Measurement for Everyone: Sensors, systems and networks.
• Dr Philip Elmer, Plant & Food Research: Biological tools to control plant disease and reduce pesticides.
• Associate Professor Taehyun Rhee, Victoria University of Wellington: Taking New Zealand's virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology to the world.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts Research & Business Partnership Award

• AUT and the NZ SKA Alliance: Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope (SKA) – NZ is a member of its first ever global mega-science project jointly undertaking research and design behind the world's largest radio telescope.
• Victoria University's Robinson Research Institute and Chinese partners: Revolutionising high speed train travel.
• StretchSense and Auckland UniServices: StretchSense - next generation smart soft sensors for wearables.

PwC Commercial Impact Award

• Callaghan Innovation: C-Prize Competition - Transforming NZ's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) sector.
• Plant and Food Research: Amarasate Extract – 100 per cent plant-based, world-first weight management extract.
• University of Waikato and WaikatoLink: MRI-Safe human-implantable electrodes – licensing deal with Saluda.

The BNZ Supreme Award is awarded to the category winner with overall excellence in all core areas of research commercialisation.

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