MacDiarmid Business Scholarships for Alumni

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MacDiarmid Business Scholarships for Alumni

16 November, 2022

Every year, we offer a limited number of competitive scholarships for our alumni to undertake further postgraduate study in business-related areas.

2022 Business Scholarship recipients

Vipin Kumar

Untitled design 7 v2Dr Vipin Kumar completed his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Auckland with Associate Investigator, Dr Erin Leitao. Vipin now works as a Development Chemist at Hexion Inc.  

With this scholarship, Vipin intends to develop a practical and theoretical understanding of business management/development. This along with his scientific skillset will help him to develop and commercialise novel and innovative products.

Vipin will undertake a Postgraduate Diploma in Business (PGDipBus) at the University of Auckland.


Farzana Fadakar

Untitled design 8Farzana completed her PhD in Applied Physics and Engineering at Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington with Emeritus Investigator Professor Bob Buckley. Having worked as a scientist at MSL, an R&D advisor for the RDTI scheme, and an Investment manager at MBIE, Farzana has extensive experience and knowledge of the New Zealand science innovation ecosystem.

She will use this scholarship to sharpen her technical and commercial leadership skills, build partnerships, and learn about market and business trends. Farzana’s ultimate goal is to lead deep tech ventures to create the next New Zealand unicorn.

Farzana will undertake a Postgraduate Certificate in Business (Professional) at Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington.


2021 Business Scholarship recipients

Maryam Shojaei 

Untitled design 38Maryam Shojaei completed her PhD in Chemical and Process Engineering at University of Canterbury, under the supervision of Principal Investigator, Associate Professor Aaron Marshall. After her PhD, Maryam focused her research on developing advanced electrodes for flow batteries.

Maryam’s interest lies in the intersection between science and industry, and with the MacDiarmid Institute Alumni Business Scholarship, she intends to develop the skills that are required to take her science to a commercial space. To achieve this, in 2022 Maryam will be undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate in Business at University of Canterbury.  

Samuel Martin Treceño

Untitled design 37Samuel Martin Treceño completed his PhD at University of Canterbury in Chemical and Process Engineering, supervised by Principal Investigator, Associate Professor Aaron Marshall. He now works as a Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in Wellington.

As a recipient of a MacDiarmid Institute Alumni Business Scholarship, it will enable Samuel to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Business (Professional) at Victoria University of Wellington in 2022. With this scholarship, he intends to build on his business acumen and lead strategic conversations in the policy space.


2020 Business Scholarship recipients

Anna Farquhar

Untitled design v6Anna Farquhar completed her PhD at the University of Canterbury and now works as a Senior Scientist in the R&D team at Aeroqual in Auckland as an electrochemist, focusing on electrochemical gas sensors, and ensuring their reliability in monitoring air pollution.

Anna will be starting a Master of Business Development at the University of Auckland in March. She intends to gain skills in business, product management and leadership to help develop New Zealand’s reputation in the global air quality industry.



Stephen Lo

Untitled design 1Prior to completing his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Auckland, Stephen Lo had partially completed a Postgraduate Diploma of Bioscience Enterprise. The MacDiarmid Institute Business Scholarship will allow him to complete this programme, which had always been a goal of his.

After the Postgraduate Diploma at the University of Auckland, Stephen intends to go further and also complete the Master of Bioscience Enterprise. Stephen is really looking forward to developing the knowledge and skills required to bring valuable products from scientific research towards the commercial space, an area of work that is particularly exciting to Stephen.


 Udbhav Ojha

Untitled design 1 v2After completing his PhD in condensed matter and materials physics at Victoria University of Wellington, Udbhav Ojha joined the financial technology services provider firm FNZ where he currently work as a senior analyst developer in the software development team.

The MacDiarmid Institute Business scholarship will enable Udbhav to undertake a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration, at Victoria University of Wellington to develop skills in business accounting and finance that he plans to incorporate in his work from a fintech product development standpoint.



Davoud Zare

Untitled design 1 v3Davoud Zare completed his PhD at Victoria University of Wellington. He is currently working as a research scientist/engineer at Fonterra research and development centre in Palmerston North. The need for innovation in today’s business environment and his ambition to commercialize academic knowledge motivated him to apply for this scholarship.

Davoud will be undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration with a specialisation in Technology Commercialisation at the University of Auckland to further develop his managerial abilities and business acumen and unify it with his existing scientific skillset.



2019 Business Scholarship recipients

Lita Lee

Untitled design 22Lita Lee completed her PhD at the University of Canterbury supervised by Professor Alison Downard and is currently working at Mint Innovation.

Through studying a Postgraduate Certificate in Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship, she hopes to gain a better understanding about the challenges that are involved in the commercialisation process and be able to assist start-up companies with their commercialisation journey.




Amy Zhu

Untitled design 21Amy Zhu completed her PhD on the development of novel biosensors based on conducting polymers under the supervision of MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator Jadranka Travas-Sejdic. She is now working as a research fellow at the University of Auckland.

Amy will undertake the Postgraduate Certificate in Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland to gain practical tools and a solid commercialisation mindset. She is keen to pursue a long-term R&D and science-led commercialisation career with a focus on translating biomaterial research into products that can benefit human wellness and social wellbeing.


2018 Business Scholarship recipients

Eldon Tate

1Eldon Tate will undertake the Advanced Management Program offered by Melbourne Business School. After completing his PhD at Victoria University of Wellington, Eldon co-founded and became CEO of Inhibit Coatings Ltd.

In his role as CEO Eldon hopes to use the skills learnt through The Advanced Management Program to develop his leadership capabilities and build Inhibit Coatings into a successful deep tech company.




Hannah Zheng

4Hannah Zheng will take a Postgraduate Diploma in Global Business at AUT. Hannah did her PhD in Physics at Victoria University, studying with MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator Dr Natalie Plank, and is currently working as a Materials Scientist at Revolution Fibres.

Hannah is keen to learn more about global business, to reinforce the technical knowledge she currently brings to the projects.




Rob Staniland

3Pressure is constantly increasing on the scientific community to provide answers to the broad range of complex issues we face as a society. Since Rob has finished his Ph.D. and started working for Mint Innovation, a deep-tech start-up company, he has come to appreciate the significance of the role that such companies hold in addressing these issues.

By studying a Masters of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship, Rob will ensure that he is in a position to help take scientific solutions to these issues out of the laboratory and to the market.



Sam Yu

5Sam Yu will take professional development short courses in governance and leadership management from the Institute of Directors and Icehouse, which will further develop his Board and Investor experiences. Sam did a PhD at Canterbury University supervised by Professors Alison Downard and Richard Blaikie.

Since then, he has been heavily involved in business development and marketing for start-ups to commercialise technologies from New Zealand.




Akshita Wason

2Akshita Wason will take the Masters of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at Auckland. Akshita did her PhD at the University of Canterbury, worked at the start-up Hi-Aspect, and is currently with the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

She will use the scholarship to develop skills to incorporate the challenges faced by typical deep-tech projects from local market launch to establishing a global presence while studying general policy-induced effects on the innovation ecosystem.




2017 Business Scholarship recipients

Manmeet Kaur

8Manmeet Kaur is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Auckland and worked as a Research Scientist at Hi-Aspect Limited. Her previous academic and industrial research experiences motivated her to apply for the scholarship as she came to realise that knowledge in IP, marketing and commercialisation is fundamental.

Manmeet will use the scholarship to develop the skill required to bridge academia and industry, to identify new investments and solutions, and make sense of the ever-present uncertainty associated with early stage ventures and start-ups.



Matthew Cowan

10Matthew Cowan is an Associate Investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute and a chemical engineer at the University of Canterbury, focussing on using nanotechnology to make the most out of solar energy.

Matthew plans to use the scholarship to boost him towards his goal of introducing innovative technologies to transform the petrochemicals industry. He’s passionate about making a positive impact on the environment and society by adding to New Zealand’s high- tech manufacturing ecosystem.



Nihan Aydemir

11Nihan Aydemir completed her PhD in 2016 at the University of Auckland under supervision of Jadranka Travas-Sejdic in micro and nanostructure organic conductor biosensors. She is currently a postdoctoral chemist at Plant and Food research, focused on mimicking how insects use proteins to smell.

Nihan will use this scholarship for the completion of Masters of Commercialization and Entrepreneurship. She hopes to carry obtained knowledge to their own start-up company, Spot-Check, which won the 1st place in Velocity 100k Challenge in 2016.



Brendan Darby

9Brendan Darby completed his PhD in physics in 2017 and developed a new technique to analyse ‘cloudy’ solutions. Brendan helped launch start-up company MaramaLabs, which commercialised the spectrophotometer technique known as CloudSpec. It is used in industries such as viticulture and water treatment.

The MacDiarmid Institute Business Scholarship will allow Brendan to develop his career as an emerging commercial scientist by exposing him to cutting-edge business practices and fundamental corporate operations that will inevitably be asked of him in his future career as a founder of start-up MaramaLabs.