The Product Accelerator, a government-funded national network led by the Faculty of Engineering to bring research and technology expertise to New Zealand businesses, has appointed Sir Ian Taylor as the new chair of the Product Accelerator Advisory Board.
The network’s co-director, Associate Professor Mark Jones of the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, welcomed Sir Ian’s appointment and paid tribute to Steve Wilson who has been its chair since its inception.
“Steve has played a major role in the success of the Product Accelerator and we are delighted that he will remain co-chairman and member of the advisory board and support Sir Ian in his new role.”
Steve Wilson also welcomes the new President to this position: “Sir Ian has been an innovator and entrepreneur for over 30 years, pioneering high-tech solutions and businesses, working in large part with the University of Otago, a partner valuable from the Product Accelerator. All because of his childhood in a rural area of Hawkes Bay without electricity.
“He is also leading a new education initiative for Maori and Pacific youth, deeply rooted in Mātauranga culture, which is critically important to the innovation and future of Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Sir Ian has a distinguished list of honours, including being made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to television and business in the 2012 New Year Honours, and being promoted to Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2021 New Year Honours. He was named Maori Business Leader of the Year in 2013, received a prestigious Sports Emmy in 2014 for developing an innovative mobile app for the 34th America’s Cup, and was named Innovator of the Year at the New Zealander of the Year Awards 2019.
On accepting the role, Sir Ian said: “The Product Accelerator was another example of an organization working quietly under the radar, delivering real value to New Zealand businesses with a focus on science, engineering and technology and the role it can play in our future.
“I had never heard of Product Accelerator before being approached for this role. But when I saw how they were helping New Zealand businesses, it only took me 10 minutes to say ‘How can I get involved?’
The Product Accelerator was started by University of Auckland Professors Mark Taylor and Emeritus Professor Ralph Cooney in 2009 when it was known as the Materials Accelerator. Since its name change in 2013, the program has helped New Zealand companies on more than 400 projects and added hundreds of millions of dollars in potential value.
Although the program is based at the University of Auckland, partners include the Universities of Waikato, Otago and Canterbury, AUT, Victoria University Wellington, Massey University, Callaghan Innovations, MacDiarmid Institute and GNS Science. All the partners contribute their expertise and carry out projects.
More information about Product Accelerator can be found here.