Mike Collins Commercialisation Scholarship

Study area(s): Engineering; Science
Scholarship level: Master’s Research; Doctoral; All postgraduate; Honours; Master's by coursework
Closing date(s): Always open
Tenure: 12 Weeks
Number offered: Eight
Value: $5,000

History and purpose

Mike Collins was the Director of the Physics and Engineering Division, and later Director General, of the DSIR.

Mike was a physicist exploring the upper atmosphere. He was also an early champion of the internet and organised a DSIR division of information technology which at one stage ran one of the world’s 10 WANs and was recognised as a leader in this area. Later he became the first chair of Viclink (now known as Wellington UniVentures), and it was in in this arena that we had our first commercial triumph. He enjoyed watching people grow and went out of his way to support young and up-and-coming scientists.

This scholarship was initially established jointly between Mike Collins personally and Viclink (now Wellington UniVentures) to encourage Physics students to undertake research degrees. In 2021 Wellington UniVentures redeveloped it in its current form to better support postgraduate students develop commercialisation skills, with support from Mike's family.

This scholarship is available to Victoria University of Wellington postgraduate research students. It provides the opportunity to contribute to the commercial development of a project in the areas of Physics, Engineering, Materials Science or Electronics, whilst at the same time developing your commercialisation skills.

The Mike Collins Commercialisation Scholarship supports recipients to undertake a part time research commercialisation project for 12 weeks, and is accompanied by mentoring and training in best practice commercialisation techniques. It is designed to be equally valuable to those considering a career as an academic, a startup founder for a deep tech company, or in the commercialisation of research.

Who is Eligible?

The scholarship is to be directed to developing and translating an innovation derived from research in the Physics, Physical Chemistry and/or Engineering disciplines.

The intent is to support the development of skills through assisting with the translation of an existing innovation, resulting from University research out to the wider community for practical use and impact. The project may include the development of a new product, service or prototype that allows the research innovation to find use in the community. Funding new research activity is not eligible under this scholarship.

Applicants must be enrolled at Victoria University of Wellington in a discipline substantially related to Physics, Engineering, Materials Science or Electronics at postgraduate level, or in a relevant discipline with sufficient knowledge to work on a project in this area.

Selection Criteria

  • Applicants must be currently enrolled at Victoria University of Wellington, undertaking postgraduate study (PhD, Masters or Honours level).
  • The scholarship must be used to support a substantial step towards translating an existing research-derived innovation to the wider community for practical use and impact. Examples of eligible activity include the development of a product, service or prototype to implement innovative research findings. The scholarship may not be used to fund new research activities.
  • The project may relate to the student's own work where it ties to a Wellington UniVentures commercialisation project, OR it may be provided by Wellington UniVentures.

How do students apply?

Apply by email to info@wellingtonuniventures.nz including all the documentation listed below.

  • A CV,  including
    • an indication of the areas of technology that you can demonstrate competency in, and
    • why you are interested in developing your skills in commercialisation
  • An indication of support from your supervisor (they will be used as a reference)
  • A copy of your most recent academic transcript
  • If you wish your project to be considered (optional) please supply a completed Invention Disclosure form for your project

Decision makers

Shortlisted applicants will be required to present to a selection committee, consisting of an ELT member and a relevant Commercialisation Manager.

Where the project is being supplied by Wellington UniVentures a key consideration is the individual’s fit with the project on offer, in terms of both technical background and personal skills.

Where the project is being offered by the student, the commercial potential of the project, as well as the student’s potential, will be considered.

Additional information

  • The time commitment is estimated at approximately 20 hours per week, for 12 weeks.
  • The scholarship will include training in commercialisation techniques by members of the Wellington UniVentures' IPC Team, and you will be working with a relevant Commercialisation Manager on this project.
  • The recipient will be coached towards providing a short 5-6 page report, at the end of the 12 week project period summarising the outcomes from the scholarship to Wellington UniVentures.
  • The funds will be dispersed at the scholarship award date and are to be used substantially in the manner described in the application, within 12 months of the scholarship award date.
  • Permission for Wellington UniVentures to use the recipient's name, image and the outcomes of the scholarship in our internal and external communications.
  • IP ownership to be governed by the University IP policy. No publications or other releases of information from the scholarship funded activities without Wellington UniVentures’ written permission, not to be unreasonably withheld (purely for the purposes of ensuring appropriate protection of University IP can be undertaken where required).

Regulations and conditions

  1. A completed online application must be submitted by 4.30 pm on the closing date. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. Any required supporting documentation (including references) must also be received by 4:30pm on the closing date in order for the application to be considered.
  2. All offers of the Scholarship will be conditional upon the recipient being fully enrolled in a full-year programme (full-time will be at the level of points considered by Studylink as full-time) within the stipulated criteria and tenure of the scholarship. No payment of the Scholarship will be made until this condition is met.
  3. The Scholarship cannot be deferred to a later year.
  4. The Scholarship may be held in conjunction with other awards.
  5. Should the recipient withdraw from Victoria University of Wellington during the tenure of this scholarship or fail to achieve a satisfactory progress, partial repayment of the Scholarship will normally be expected. Recipients must advise the Scholarships Office if they intend to withdraw.
  6. Recipients are expected to act as Ambassadors for Victoria University of Wellington and participate in appropriate events or marketing if requested.
  7. At the discretion of the Deciding Authority, the application of the terms and conditions of the Scholarship may be modified in special circumstances or to avoid hardship to any candidate for the Scholarship.


Scholarships and PhD Admissions Office
Phone 0800 04 04 04