2 October, 2023
Our Commercialisation Manager Kevin Sheehy won the Simpson Grierson Commercialisation Professional Award at the 2023 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards, for effective support for deep tech entrepreneurs, start-ups, and the ecosystem.
Speaking following the win, MacDiarmid Institute Deputy Director for Commercialisation and Engagement Associate Professor Natalie Plank said Kevin Sheehy was a highly accomplished commercialisation professional whose work has had a deep and wide-ranging impact nationally
“Kevin brings so much knowledge and energy to the role, as evident from the growing number of MacDiarmid Institute entrepreneurs within New Zealand's growing deep tech ecosystem. This award is a great recognition of his hard work and success in this area.”
Kevin brings so much knowledge and energy to the role. This award is a great recognition of his hard work and success in this area.Associate Professor Natalie Plank Deputy Director for Commercialisation and Industry Engagement
Institute Co-Director Professor Justin Hodgkiss, who has worked with Kevin both within the Institute and through his own startup company Advemto, said that Kevin takes an inclusive and NZ-Inc approach to everything he does.
“Kevin has put a huge amount of energy and knowledge into growing New Zealand's deep tech community, and the KiwiNet award celebrates this empowering role he plays.”
The KiwiNet judges said that Kevin’s contributions to the commercialisation sector, both at the MacDiarmid Institute and beyond, had been hugely impactful, that his focus on actively supporting others and developing researchers and their capability was admirable, that he takes a true ecosystem approach to his work, and is committed and deeply involved in helping drive New Zealand forward through commercialisation. The judges said that Kevin set a very high benchmark for commercialisation leaders, and that they looked forward to seeing what he will achieve in the years to come.
Institute Co-Director Professor Nicola Gaston echoed the judges’ comments, adding that it was evident that Kevin was making an extraordinary impact across the deep tech and cleantech commercialisation ecosystem.
“We see Kevin’s impact through the nine affiliated spinout companies he’s supported and the connections he’s making throughout the commercialisation sector. It’s wonderful to see him being acknowledged by the wider sector with this Award.”
Speaking at the awards evening, Kevin Sheehy said it was great to see the growing talent in the ecosystem that KiwiNet and Return on Science have fostered.
“With the MacDiarmid Institute approaching the halfway mark of our current funding, and NZ’s deep tech and cleantech ecosystem starting to really ramp up, I am very optimistic about the ability of the blend of sustainability and deep tech to drive NZ’s future economic revolution."
He was characteristically modest about the part he played.
“I feel my contribution is often a very light touch input to people and projects. It’s been a lot of fun to see how early ideas develop over time, and to help them become investable.”
He said in the 4.5 years he’s been at the Institute he’s been amazed at the range and quality of the scientific and commercial projects the Institute’s researchers get up to.
“I love the focus on sustainability that is embedded in much of what we do.”
I feel my contribution is often a very light touch input to people and projects. It’s been a lot of fun to see how early ideas develop over time, and to help them become investable.Kevin Sheehy MacDiarmid Institute Commercialisation and Industry Engagement Manager
Associate Professor Plank said one of the Institute’s newest affiliated startup companies, Bspkl, won the PwC Breakthrough Project Award: Activating sustainability through innovative manufacturing. She congratulated its cofounders, Dr Jérôme Leveneur (a MacDiarmid Institute Alumnus) and Christina Houlihan.
She also congratulated four other Institute-affiliated KiwiNet finalists: BNZ Researcher Entrepreneur Finalist, Principal Investigator Dr Laura Domigan, and Sprout Breakthrough Innovator Finalists, Alumna Dr Olivia Ogilvie and Dr Jérôme Leveneur.
“It is no small feat to be up there as a finalist, representing your start-up and years of hard work and expert knowledge.”
Read more about the KiwiNet Research Commecialisation Awards here
You can also read more about Kevin Sheehy and the impact he has on our researchers here