New network to boost innovation

  • New network

A case is being made for commercial enterprise and funders to look to Unitec Institute of Technology as a solutions partner for high tech software and design solutions. 

Professor Hossein Sarrafzadeh, director of the new Whaingia te Toi Huarewa High Tech Transdisciplinary Research Network says in much the same way as Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s ‘Engine’, Unitec’s High Tech Network is a platform to drive transformative innovation to tackle social challenges and economic growth.

Te Toi hopes to bring academic researchers from across multiple fields of endeavour together with commercial and public sector organisations to help solve the conundrums of the modern world.  

At the network launch, held earlier this month, Colin James, Head of security at Vodafone says working together with advanced research hubs such as Te Toi – High Tech Transdisciplinary Research Network is a critical step for telecommunications companies in outsmarting cyber-criminals.

“We need to break the model of ‘catch up’ to circumvent the criminal element. This can only be done through dedicated research and development, and by developing the next generation of security technologies to deter criminals as they move to more innovative methods of attack.” 

Funders, entrepreneurs, and business leaders were given a glimpse into current Unitec projects including immediate malware alert mechanisms for companies, and programmes which create an immediate yet undetectable diversion against website hackers, systems for speech enhancement aimed at converting whispers and distorted speech into a natural sounding voice, and devices for noise cancellation in neonatal incubators.

Presently, Professor Sarrafzadeh, an expert in many high-tech fields, is working with international corporations and governments on initiatives involving cybersecurity, machine learning, data visualisation, noise cancellation and sentiment analysis. He says he is looking forward to developing Unitec’s network as a powerhouse for the commercialisation of intellectual property in New Zealand. He says almost every sector of society can benefit from advances in high tech applied research including health, agritech, infrastructure and telecommunications.  

Professor Hossein Sarrafzadeh is the founder of the Centre for Computational Intelligence and Cyber Security Research, a collaboration with NICT, Japan’s national research institute, and also founded the Centre for Computational Intelligence and Environmental Engineering, a joint venture with NIWA and partners in China which uses sensing technologies, GIS mapping and the Internet of Things to monitor and manage the built and natural environment.


Find out more about Computing and Information Technology at Unitec.

Find out about the High Tech Transdisciplinary Research Network Scholarship.