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Unitec launches new high-tech research network to boost innovation and IP

11 Nov 2016

Unitec's new high-tech research network has been launched to help boost the country's innovation and IP creation prospects, and the institution hopes to become a solutions partner for software and design.

The Whaingia te Toi Huarewa High Tech Transdisciplinary Research Network hopes to attract researchers and New Zealand companies together to 'help solve the conundrums of the modern world'.

Described as working similarly to Massachusetts Institute of Technology's 'Engine', Unitec will help facilitate 'transformative innovation' for economic and social reasons, explains Professor Hossein Sarrafzadeh, director of the network.

Sarrafzadeh says he is also looking forward to developing the network as a 'powerhouse' for IP commercialisation, particularly as almost every sector from health, agritech, telecommunications and infrastructure can benefit from high-tech applied research.

Entrepreneurs, funders and business leaders have been introduced to some of Unitec's current projects, including speech enhancement, noise cancellation and cybersecurity malware alert mechanisms.

Vodafone's head of security Colin James has also commended the network, saying that the new network will be instrumental in defeating cybercrime.

“We need to break the model of ‘catch up’ to circumvent the criminal element. This can only be done through dedicated research and development, and by developing the next generation of security technologies to deter criminals as they move to more innovative methods of attack," James says.

As well as forming Unitec's High Tech Transdisciplinary Research Network, Sarrafzadeh also founded the Centre for Computational Intelligence and Cyber Security Research, a collaboration with NICT, Japan’s national research institute.

He has also founded the Centre for Computational Intelligence and Environmental Engineering, a joint venture with NIWA and partners in China which uses sensing technologies, GIS mapping and the Internet of Things to monitor and manage the built and natural environment.

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