New Zealand invests US$6.8m to help 3D printing start-ups

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A world-leading entrepreneurial researcher will be joining the University of Auckland to help foster potential start-ups in the 3D printing industry, New Zealand Education Minister Chris Hipkins said on Tuesday.

The government and the University of Auckland are investing 10 million NZ dollars (6.8 million U.S. dollars) as part of the Entrepreneurial Universities program. The project sees multi-award-winning professor Olaf Diegel start with the Faculty of Engineering in early 2019, following a successful tenure at Sweden's Lund University.

"We are fortunate to have secured Prof. Diegel, a world leader in creating new products that provide innovative solutions to engineering problems," Hipkins said in a statement.

Diegel's work aims to establish New Zealand as a global leader in Additive Manufacturing (AM), a technique used to build 3D printing technology, Hipkins said, adding it has already been used by Kiwi start-up Rocket Lab to build its ground-breaking rocket motor that cleverly used parts made by 3D printers.

"This project, however, will fast-track New Zealand's ability to develop more commercial products using AM," he said.

Having founded AM labs at Auckland University of Technology, Massey University and Lund University, Diegel has developed more than 100 commercialized products, including patenting a portable device and method for regulating the temperature of a substance, successfully commercialized as an insulin cooler. 

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