The 2012 Comvita Science Symposium draws large audience

Comvita’s fourth annual Science Symposium and Science Challenge Prize Giving ceremony successfully took place at The University of Auckland on Thursday 6th September. About 170 delegates attended Comvita’s annual flagship event. The delegates were a diverse mix of representatives from academia, Crown Research Institutes, the natural products, health care and cosmetics industry and government agencies such as New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The day began with Professor Grant Guilford’s (Dean of Science, The University of Auckland) opening address. Prof. Guilford is one of the strong supporters of the Institute for Innovation in Biotechnology’s (IIB) model of joining industry and academia’s resources to accelerate innovation. The symposium was an excellent occasion to demonstrate the value of Comvita Innovation’s co-location at IIB.

The symposium content was both professional and varied and appealed to a wide spectrum of delegates with different interests. The delegates were presented with results from the most up-to-date research outcomes. The research topics covered natural products such as honey, Olive Leaf Extract and berries. Comvita’s recent ground-breaking research outcome from the clinical trial with The Liggins Institute on Olive Leaf Extract was also presented at this event In addition to the research presentations, the symposium also had inspirational speeches from IIB Director Joerg Kistler and Jon Hooper from Ernst & Young’s Life Sciences Centre as well as a thought-provoking panel session discussing “Wellness beyond pharmaceutical model”

The day ended on a humorous note with attendees watching the final five student (tertiary and secondary) videos from this year’s Comvita Science Video Challenge. The Challenge is a ‘science made simple’ competition where students make under-3 minute movies to explain the benefits of healthy food ingredients in an entertaining, consumer friendly way.

For the previous two years the Comvita Science Video Challenge has been open to tertiary students and this year it was also extended to Year 9 and 10 secondary school students. Their enthusiasm was reflected in the record 12 entries for the tertiary section and 34 entries for the secondary students. The finalists were flown in from various parts of the country (Wanaka, Dunedin, Palmerston North, Wanganui and Christchurch) to attend the prize giving ceremony. To see the winning videos created by these young, enthusiastic scientists, please visit