Catalyst: Strategic – Auckland Bioengineering Institute 12 Labours project

MBIE has committed $15 million to support a world-leading project to develop a clinically-oriented framework for mathematically modelling the physiological systems of the human body.

Our investment in the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI)’s leadership of the 12 Labours project is worth $15m over five years (GST exc.) from Catalyst: Strategic.  The 12 Labours project was commissioned by MBIE to give the ABI a platform through which it could establish and enhance its global leadership in its field.  The ABI is contracted to deliver outcomes across six areas:

  • Research undertaken through the programme contributes substantially to the global body of human bioengineering knowledge
  • The ABI and New Zealand are recognised as the premier centre of global bioengineering expertise, including programme co-ordination and leadership
  • A thriving health technologies industry/sector associated with the programme
  • New Zealand has a critical mass of excellent bioengineering research leaders and science entrepreneurs
  • Substantive, productive research relationships with other global leaders in bioengineering and related fields
  • New Zealand develops, attracts, and retains high calibre bioengineering talent through its academic programmes and staff recruitment

World class international partnerships

The principal partners in this project are Germany’s University of Stuttgart and the associated Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) and the University of Freiburg.  The Stuttgart connection has been fostered over the past decade through Julius von Haast Fellowships, a MBIE-Fraunhofer co-funded project on a bionic elbow joint and the establishment of an International Research Training Group (IRTG) on Soft Tissue robotics which will train up to 60 PhD candidates over nine years. Top researchers from Oxford, Harvard and Stanford Universities will also participate alongside other leading academics from the UK, US, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands and Australia.

The science and funding sources

The ABI’s Director, Professor Peter Hunter will lead the project, which will extend, the International Union of Physiological Sciences-sponsored Physiome Project, which the ABI began in 1997 to link cell/tissue/organ-level and organism-wide physiological function (or dysfunction in the case of disease) to information that is encoded in the genome and in multiscale epigenetic mechanisms. 

The project will draw on ABI work supported by international funders such the US National Institutes of Health, the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and the Wellcome Trust as well as New Zealand sources such as the Endeavour and Marsden Funds.

Contact us

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