5 July, 2016
The Director of the MacDiarmid Institute today congratulated MacDiarmid Principal Investigator Dr Carla Meledandri on winning the ‘Norman F. Barry Trust Emerging Innovator Award’ at the KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards 2016 last night. The KiwiNet ‘Norman F. Barry Trust Emerging Innovator 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.
Welcoming Dr Meledandri’s win, MacDiarmid Institute Director Professor Thomas Nann said that Dr Meledandri was an outstanding scientist who truly sought to take her research into practical applications.
“Dr Meledandri’s win show the success of the CoRE model for New Zealand science, where excellent research can translate into real economic gain for New Zealand. The MacDiarmid Institute was set up 14 years ago by Sir Paul Callaghan whose vision was to see science connect with industry to grow the prosperity of New Zealand. Dr Meledandri’s work fits precisely into Sir Paul’s vision. She has developed nanoscience-based technologies for practical applications in dentistry, harnessing silver nanoparticles to treat and prevent dental disease. This is a is a new area within New Zealand science and one in which there is huge commercial opportunity.”
Professor Nann said the MacDiarmid Institute had recently promoted Dr Meledandri to Principal Investigator.
Dr Meledandri said she was excited about winning the KiwiNet award.
“I’ve had innovation awards from the university before but nothing at this level. I am keen to see my research used for a practical application that will benefit people. I like starting with a problem and using nanoscience and materials technology to work up a solution.”
Dr Meledandri also said she appreciated the support of the MacDiarmid Institute in helping her achieve this.
“The MacDiarmid Institute put me forward for ‘Pitch on a Peak’ where I was one of only 15 researchers to present to 150 angel investors in Queenstown last year. And MacDiarmid Institute Chair Ray Thomson has been very active in connecting me with potential investors and encouraging discussions on a potential start-up company.”
Professor Nann noted that Dr Meledandri had been jointly nominated for the Award by the MacDiarmid Institute and the University of Otago, and he emphasised the considerable support that Dr Meledandri had received from the University of Otago.
“University of Otago has always backed Dr Meledandri’s work and supported her to continue her research into the development of functional nanoscale materials for biomedicine. Their support has enabled her to establish a productive collaboration with the Faculty of Dentistry there and to pursue commercial outcomes for her research.”