Lincoln Agritech Ltd was recognised for its cutting-edge innovations at the annual Canterbury Westpac Champion Business Awards on 19 September.
The research and development company owned by Lincoln University won the ChristchurchNZ Champion Innovation award, which honours businesses that have developed products, services or business model innovations to improve commercial performance, effectiveness or customer engagement.
Lincoln Agritech CEO Peter Barrowclough was delighted with the win and paid tribute to the talented team of scientists and research engineers who work hard to deliver leading-edge knowledge and technologies across the primary sector value chain.
“Our company is flexible and dynamic, combining the spectacular expertise of our scientists and engineers with practical industry insight to offer new knowledge and solve complex, real-world problems,” he said.
Lincoln Agritech’s research has improved the commercial performance of many New Zealand businesses, as well as growing its own activities.
One of its latest inventions is the HydroMetrics optical groundwater nitrate sensor. The sensor can be placed down wells to provide accurate real time nitrate monitoring in groundwater. The HydroMetrics sensor, now commercialised and available for purchase, is priced at a third of the cost of international equivalents. “This is disruptive technology which will help us monitor the environmental impact of NZ’s primary production systems.
“Our innovation stems from our unique combination of strategy, our people and culture, our collaborative approach and our strong industry partnerships.,” said Mr Barrowclough.
“With just 55 staff we regularly punch above our weight when compared to NZ universities and Crown Research Institutes in the highly contested annual MBIE funding rounds.
In the latest funding round, announced last week, the company was awarded $13 million for two five-year research programmes. One programme aims to further understand critical nitrate pathways into groundwater and the other will assist medical professionals to diagnose bone and tissue damage using hand held non-contact novel technology.
Mr Barrowclough said Lincoln Agritech had experienced significant growth in revenue over the past five years.
“Private sector research revenue has increased by almost 400% and revenue for Government-funded research has more than doubled. Repeat business for professional services was 90% in 2017.”
Last year, Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Woodhead, won the prestigious Scott Medal for engineering science from the Royal Society Te Apārangi in recognition of the wide range of sensors he has developed for the agricultural and environmental sectors.
Lincoln Agritech is wholly owned by Lincoln University, with an independent board of directors.