Date: 06/11/2018
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Location: BLINC Innovation, Lincoln University Campus, Ellesmere Road, Christchurch

Our monthly Canterbury Tech Cluster events provide a great opportunity to network and listen to speakers present on a wide range of topics.

Join us at our upcoming monthly Cluster event on 6th November at BLINC Innovation on the Lincoln University Campus.  The event will have an agritech focus.  We will hear from four guest speakers:

  • Grant Ryan – Founding coordinator at The Cacophony Project will be speaking on “Using technology to make predator trapping 80,000 times more effective”.
  • Bridgit Hawkins – Executive Officer / Executive Director, of award-winning NZ agritech company Regen will be speaking on “Potential for technology to support water irrigation”.
  • Ryan Higgs – CEO of OnSide, speaking on “Crickets chirping and a biosecurity catastrophe: what they have in common”.
  • Blair Miller – Lincoln Agritech, speaking on “The development and commercialisation of the Lincoln Agritech Optical Groundwater Nitrate Sensor”

Register Here

Outline of the evening:

5.30pm Networking, drinks and nibbles

6.00pm Canterbury Tech (David Carter), industry news & quick pitches

6.20pm ChristchurchNZ narrative – Tim Loftus, General Manager – Marketing Brand and Communication

6.30pm Two Stream Presentations

  • Workshop Room – Grant Ryan followed by Bridgit Hawkins
  • Breakout space – Ryan Higgs followed by Blair Miller

7.00pm Networking and drinks

7.30pm Event closes

How to find the venue:

BLINC Innovation is within the Lincoln University campus in a building known as Blinc Workshop. If you enter the University car park through Gate 3 (off Springs Road) and use the Orchard car park, you will see the signs, just look out for the b.!  Scroll down further for map.


Our Speakers

Grant Ryan, Founding Coordinator at The Cacophony Project

Grant is a hopelessly addicted inventor. He has founded a number of companies including GlobalBrain.net (sold to NBCi), RealContacts (sold to Intel), SLI Systems (listed NZX) and Eurekster, YikeBike and PurePods. He is now having fun trying to help make NZ predator-free with The Cacophony Project. He has also served on the board of The Foundation for Research Science and Technology, the New Zealand Government’s Venture Investment Fund and Canterbury Development  Corporation. Grant has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Ecological Economics from the University of Canterbury.

Topic: “Using Technology to make Predator Trapping 80,000 times more effective”.

 Grant will be speaking about heat cameras, Artificial Intelligence, sound lures, intelligent traps, paintball guns with poison and quad-copters. How these technologies are combined tackle our largest ecological problem of invasive species.

Brigit Hawkins, CEO – Executive Officer / Executive Director, Regen

Working in agritech for over 25 years, Bridgit Hawkins is the founder and CEO of Regen, an innovative tech company creating market-leading technology-based solutions for the agricultural sector.

Raised on a Reporoa sheep and beef farm – and a farm owner today – Bridgit gained a Masters Degree in Agricultural Science from Massey University.

Bridgit has spent her career specialising in understanding the impacts of resource uses on farming systems and combining that knowledge with leading technology to produce solutions for farmers that improve their economic and environmental performance.

 Topic: “Potential for technology to support water irrigation”.

Bridgit will be speaking about using quite basic technology Regen has developed simple solutions to address the complexity of efficient water irrigation.  There are rapid advances in sensor technology, image technology, IoT and more – but is it a lack of sophistication in the technology or a lack of how we package it up that makes for a slow adoption curve in the ag sector?


Ryan, originally from the Waikato has a background in farming and science. He attended Massey University before heading to Cornell University in NY where he completed a Masters and PhD in animal science and mathematical modelling. On return to NZ, he worked at Synlait farms as Innovation manager and also managed the operations of 4000 cows. Ryan is now a co-founder and the CEO of OnSide and has led the company for the past 3 years.

Topic: “Crickets chirping and a biosecurity catastrophe: what they have in common”.

OnSide is a Canterbury-based agritech startup attempting to build the worlds most advanced biosecurity system. The company was founded in 2016 by Ryan Higgs, Juliet Maclean and Michael Falconer with a goal of connecting farmers and growers to people visiting their properties to communicate and manage risks. The company has grown to 7000 registered users, raised $2m of investment and received numerous grants from Callaghan Innovation and Agmardt supporting its innovative R&D program and drive to solve meaningful problems.


Dr Blair Miller, Group Manager, Environmental Research, Lincoln Agritech Ltd

Blair has over 25 years of industry experience and has worked on environmental management issues for a wide range of areas including the mining, forestry, agriculture and tourism sectors.  Blair has significant experience with technology development and commercialisation in the Agritech space.

Topic: “The development and commercialisation of the Lincoln Agritech Optical Groundwater Nitrate Sensor”

Blair will present on the development of the Hydrometrics sensor which a low-cost technology for measuring nitrate concentrations in groundwater and has been designed and developed by hydrogeologists and engineers at Lincoln Agritech Limited.

This sensor is being used by a number of regional councils in a variety of projects; such as understanding the positive impact of the Managed Aquifer Recharge trials in Mid-Canterbury. Farmers are now starting to install these sensors so they can directly measure nitrate levels under their properties and collect data that provides them with information that allows them to join the continuing discussions on nutrient allocations for their regions.  Visit www.hydrometrics.co.nz to learn more.


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