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Kaimahi

Staff Profile

Meet Jennifer Anderson, UniServices Business Development Manager

24 August 2021
Jen Anderson is a business development manager focusing on energy and advanced manufacturing. (Article updated 27 February 2023)

What does your job involve?

I build partnerships between University of Ƶresearchers, industry, government and communities to help find pathways for research to have impact and for new knowledge and technologies to be applied.

My portfolios include energy futures and the transition to 100% renewables (including generation, distribution, market systems and influencing consumer behaviour as well as the modelling of these complex systems) and advanced manufacturing to improve the competitiveness of manufacturing in Aotearoa.

On a day-to-day basis, that largely consists of responding to requests from industry and government for specific pieces of research and finding the right researchers for them to talk to. I also support the development of proposals. However, the bit I enjoy most is the more strategic work where I get to build a deeper understanding of what our researchers and partners want to achieve, then matchmake our partners’ research needs with the university researchers who can help.

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How did you get into this field?

I love innovation and seeing the difference it makes when it’s well applied. When I was a student, I saw a gap between the amazing knowledge the experts I was learning from were generating and the connection to those who could most use this knowledge. 

After I graduated, I built my career in government. I worked for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, initially in Wellington, then for a couple of years in London before returning to Wellington and eventually moving into a role with the New Zealand Aid Programme at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. My roles over this time focused on working in collaboration with the private sector to build partnerships between New Zealand and overseas, building our innovation system here and supporting economic growth in the Pacific. I really enjoyed working across different agencies and levels of government to bring ambitious ideas to life. 

In 2020, my husband and I moved to Ƶto be closer to family. I was thrilled to discover this also opened the opportunity to realise my student dream of working alongside scientists and engineers to bring their ideas and innovations to the world. That’s what brought me into this role.

What would you want researchers to know about you?

I’m here to help. I want to understand your ambitions and to help connect you to the people who can help you realise those ambitions. Since a lot of research funding comes from the government, I can help you understand what government is trying to achieve and what government officials consider when deciding what to spend taxpayer money on. After 10 years in government, I know how to speak government language and how to identify the right people to talk to so you can answer questions that really matter to New Zealand and beyond.

What would you want people in industry or government to know about you?

I’m a channel to the university. I make research accessible and can help you find the University of Ƶexpertise you need to solve your challenges, enhance your business’s competitive advantage through innovation, and inform policy decisions to improve economic and social outcomes for Kiwis.

I know the researchers who work on the cutting edge in areas such as energy futures and advanced manufacturing . At UniServices, we work across faculties, looking at science, engineering and customer or market behaviour, so we can build custom research projects suited to our clients.

As for government, I understand the needs, systems and processes both there and at the university, so I can create partnerships that work. Universities don’t only build and develop our future workforce – we push boundaries of innovation and can make a real difference to the future of New Zealand.

What drives you to do what you do?

The difference it will make. I suspect that’s a very Millennial thing to say, but I truly love being an enabler of impact. I get a huge amount of satisfaction out of seeing something created or a service delivered that changes lives. 

What do you do for fun?

I like to spend time with my family – my husband and I have two young children who keep us on our toes. I also love being outside in nature, walking, taking photos and writing. I like how these activities help us to slow down and appreciate the beauty and complexity of the world around us.

Want to work with Jennifer or any University researchers in energy or advanced manufacturing?