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Researcher Hatchery:

A gateway to transforming research into impactful innovations 


Knowledge mobilisation and developing skills in entrepreneurship empower researchers to make an exponential impact. The Researcher Hatchery is designed to assist you in making an impact with your research by assessing its social or commercial entrepreneurial application. 

By participating in the hatchery, you will discover how your research may have an impact or commercial opportunity, and how to deliver on this, while also gaining transferable skills supporting your next project or career.  

The next Researcher Hatchery will begin in August. Applications close 7 July.

Programme structure

The Researcher Hatchery is an innovative 12-week programme designed to help researchers take their research beyond the academic sphere, assessing its potential practical application and societal implications.

By leveraging a variety of tools, including online learning, group sessions, in-person workshops, customer interviews, and market feedback, participants are poised to discover how their research may have a far-reaching impact or unlock commercial opportunities. 

Learning outcomes

Throughout the Researcher Hatchery programme, participants will learn about, apply and test how to translate their research project into practical applications.

Who should apply

The Researcher Hatchery is open to University of Auckland researchers of all disciplines, from doctoral students to professors.  

The Researcher Hatchery is perfect for motivated individuals or teams who are enthusiastic about exploring the real-world applications of their research. Whether the potential lies in commercialisation or societal impact, the programme helps participants harness the potential of their research.

All applications are shared with UniServices, ensuring that your research receives optimal protection and comprehensive support. 



This programme enables participants to be better able to:

  • identify opportunities for social and commercial impact
  • design research projects that meet a need in society and/or the economy
  • undertake transdisciplinary research,
  • prepare your venture idea for potential investment, such as from the $40m evergreen University of Auckland’s Inventors’ Fund

Timing and commitment

The time commitment for the Researcher Hatchery is around 8 hours per week for the 12-week programme. By applying to the programme, you commit to partake fully.

16 August – Kick off event

13 September – Mid-way workshop

8 November – Final presentation

Weekly check-ins on Mondays in between

Weekly check-ins via Zoom on Wednesdays in between

Final Presentation

Your journey with the Researcher Hatchery culminates in a final presentation where you share your findings with the group. Depending on the nature of your project, this presentation may serve as a pathway into other programmes and/or funding opportunities. 


No Charge. While there is no charge to join the programme, there is a cost to the University. Therefore, all applications will be assessed to ensure the best outcome for you and the University.

Facilitation team

Duncan Ledwith

Since moving to New Zealand from Scotland in 2005, Duncan Ledwith has been a driving force in the local start-up ecosystem through mentorship, education, investment, and more. He is widely recognised as a leading expert in market validation and has been involved in the Icehouse and CIE from the very start. His areas of expertise include early-stage and technology investing, international market entry, large-scale strategic partnerships, building international sales revenue, and science commercialisation. He has founded several successful start-ups and held senior leadership positions at Microsoft from 1990 to 2005. In 2022, Duncan was honoured as one of the Business School’s Star Volunteers for his unwavering support of Velocity and CIE programmes. We are thrilled to have Duncan on board as one of our Hatchery managers this year. 

Guy Bate

Guy is currently a Lecturer in Technology Commercialisation & Strategy at Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland. Prior to entering academia, he worked for nearly 20 years in the pharmaceutical, health technology and biotechnology industries, leading strategy, new product planning, business transformation, and commercial operations.We are thrilled to have Guy on board as Academic Programme Director this year. 



Anna St. George

Anna has worked across sectors from Spark to Les Mills International, to start-ups to her own. In her roles she has provided data, insights and avenues for growth that validate a new direction in a straightforward way, even if it initially presents in a complex one, most recently in SaaS, primary industry, or impact companies looking for expansion. From bedding to health [just as a few], from B2B, performance-based models to brand building – there isn’t a lot she hasn’t covered including working deals with Google, building business cases, influencing App roadmaps and working in the trenches. She has delivered multiple commercialisation projects, with a consumer, communications and purpose driven lens. Anna is a future thinker, comfortable with complexity, has a good dose of creativity, while working across stakeholders groups and leading teams to bring it all together – tied tightly to business goals. She is a problem solver, a deep thinker and happy to jump into most things to find their source of truth and change it up, but always for the greater good of our people, planet and prosperity. We are thrilled to have Anna on board as one of our Hatchery managers this year. 

How to apply

Please apply as early as possible, as applications are assessed as they are received.

  • Limited places are available. 
  • Individual or team applications accepted
  • Research with either potential commercial or societal impact will be considered

Important Note: Your applications will be shared with UniServices, to ensure your research receives protection and maximum support. 

Applications for the August cohort now open



“Participating in the Researcher Hatchery programme was an opportunity for me to learn the skills necessary to actively push our research towards commercialisation. I learned so much. The programme has taught me the importance of early engagement with potential customers. What we thought was an ‘important research need’ was only our assumption/hypothesis as researchers and could be very different to what customers view as important. The programme has given us a practical skill set to engage potential customers to test our hypothesis.”

Haruna Suzuki-Kerr
Research Fellow – Medical and Health Sciences