University of Auckland Engineering student wins Rotary Newmarket Technology Translation Award

02 December 2016
Vinura Jayaneththi 2016 Rotary Newmarket Technology Translation Award
L to R: Professor Mark Taylor, Vinura Jayaneththi, Simon Dalton, Brian McMath, Assoc. Prof. Mark Jones

Vinura Jayaneththi, a PhD Student in Mechatronics Engineering, is the inaugural winner of the Rotary Newmarket Technology Translation Award. Vinura’s research is on the development of 3D printed non-biological organs using smart materials. The award was presented at Rotary Newmarket’s meeting which was held at the Newmarket Campus on Tuesday.

The $5,000 award was open to postgraduate engineering students who were asked to submit a one page summary of their applied research demonstrating industrial potential leading to commercial outcomes.

The award resulted from a visit by Rotary Newmarket in 2015 to the new campus following discussions between Professor Nic Smith and Brian McMath, Chair of the Newmarket Rotary Charitable Foundation and also Business Development Manager of the NZ Product Accelerator which is based at the campus. Professor Smith advised his interest in interacting with the Newmarket Community. Rotary Newmarket was established in 1945 by a group of local businessmen and in its 71 years has made significant contributions to the Newmarket community. It is also a member of the Sir Douglas Robb Society for contributions to the University of Auckland.

As a result of the popularity of the initial visit to the campus and with the agreement of Professor Smith, it was decided to make the visit an annual one. In recognition of this becoming an annual event, Rotary Newmarket and its Charitable Foundation decided to create the Technology Translation Award.

Rotary Newmarket President Simon Dalton said “we were delighted with the response as we received 26 applications. The judges Professor Mark Taylor, Associate Professor Mark Jones, and Brian McMath were unanimous in their decision in making the award to Vinura. His summary of work represented excellent science and a multi-disciplinary team including a commercialisation expert ready to take the next steps for clinical trials and market launch”. Simon added, “Vinura presented his work to our members at the meeting and we were most impressed with the clarity of his address and his work.”

The judges gave three highly commended recognitions to Lun Gou, Ashkan Hashemi & Dulsha Kularatna Abeywardana.

Simon added, “In addition to Vinura’s presentation we had presentations from Chris Lees on robots in healthcare, and Dr Robert Blache from the Product Accelerator. It was a wonderful stimulating day and we look forward to the visit to the campus becoming one of the highlights of our Rotary year.”