Faculty of Science

Develop and commercialise innovation.

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Do you want to use your specialist expertise to transform innovative technologies into viable commercial products? This Master's programme could help open up a multitude of exciting career options, whatever your area of expertise or industry.

The Master of Advanced Technology Enterprise (MATE) is a one-year practice-based degree. It draws on technology projects with real commercial potential, which may come from within the university, externally, or from the students in the programme.

The MATE programme recognises that it takes a team of specialists to successfully take an advanced technology and make it into a viable commercial product. Designers, engineers, scientists, law and business specialists all have very important roles to play. This process can be quite unlike creating a "traditional" business where the product or market may already be defined.

Understanding the crucial role of your specific discipline in the development and commercialisation of advanced technology could put you at great advantage in your current or future career, be it as managers in technology-focused organisations, product managers or as an entrepreneur.

“The programme places an appropriate and perhaps unique balance between understanding and skill building. This will deliver great insight for students of the practical aspects of commercialising technology, the potential formation of actual start-up companies, and the real-world challenges of being a successful entrepreneur.”
Steve O’Connor, CEO, Creative HQ, Wellington

MATE creates an entrepreneurial and multi-disciplinary team environment to allow students to gain knowledge, skills and experience in taking an advanced technology to market.

Our students talk about the programme

Apply your specific expertise

Students from any discipline are invited to apply to the MATE programme. In each case the individual will inject specific discipline expertise into the team. Their role will draw on expertise gained from previous study and work experiences, and will be shaped by the needs of the particular project and enterprise. 

  • MATE for scientists

Scientists are the important link between scientific research and technology development and commercialisation. Goals of research and commerce are quite different, so the scientist must manage the relationship with the research team and ensure that research and commercial development activities are mutually compatible. The scientist understands the scientific method and, while they may not possess expertise in the particular research science, they become the technology expert within the enterprise.

  • MATE for engineers

The engineer is charged with turning ideas into reality. The engineer assimilates requirements from marketing and design, recognises the scientific limitations, and creates the product. The iterative cycle that follows develops promising prototypes into desirable, robust and manufacturable products. The engineer uses a variety of skills from networking, material, mechanical, electronic or software engineering and synthesises, evaluates and creates throughout the product development phases to manage the innovation process.

  • MATE for designers

The designer is charged with transforming technologies into a usable and attractive product. The designer works closely with marketing and engineering to establish technical capabilities and end user requirements. The technology that forms the product may initially have little focus on the end user, so building a coherent user experience, producing the physical product design, and developing the overall brand of the product and enterprise are significant challenges.

  • MATE for business specialists

The business specialists' role is to develop and apply best practice business activities around the developing technology. Incorporating market-driven validation into a technology-driven enterprise is a particular challenge for technology commercialisation. Business specialists work closely with all other team members to create a strategy that recognises the competitive advantages and limitations of the technology, and its unique marketing and financial requirements, to position the enterprise for future commercial success.

  • MATE for law specialists

Intellectual property protection is critical for the advanced technology enterprise—what to protect, when to protect it, and how to protect it. The legal specialist within the enterprise must balance the requirements of research—where publication is required, and business—where protection of ideas is valued. They must also manage confidentiality for the enterprise as other resources are engaged, establish knowledge of prior art, and freedom to operate within the field. As the enterprise develops, input into its legal strategy and development of strategic partnerships become important.

“This is the only programme of its kind in New Zealand where students from a wide range of disciplines can come together and work in an essentially real-world environment, to develop an advanced technology business concept.”
Professor Kate McGrath, Director, McDiarmid Institute


Supervision, mentoring and governance for the teams and individuals within the MATE programme is provided by staff from throughout Victoria University of Wellington, and by external commercial partners. Students learn from experienced technology entrepreneurs, academics and business experts, and build their own professional support network. 


Graduates ready to lead New Zealand technology enterprises

At the end of the year, teams present their enterprise to an audience of Victoria University staff, external programme supporters and potential investors. They aim to prove value added and development of the research towards a viable product to secure further investment for the enterprise.

Individual research builds on the student’s prior knowledge. Research investigates the role of a discipline expert within a multi-disciplinary team, the team function and entrepreneurship. Students create a Master’s research thesis focussed on their role, and aligned with the team outcomes.

Graduates leave having developed their discipline-specific skills within an advanced technology enterprise, added a deep understanding of advanced technology business practice, and developed into confident professionals capable of leading the next wave of new technology businesses.

“We have 10 [advanced technology] companies exporting $4 billion. Why not 100? One hundred inspired entrepreneurs can transform this country into a creative, innovative dynamo.”
The late Professor Sir Paul Callaghan

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Entry requirements

  1. A four-year degree, honours degree or relevant postgraduate diploma with a B+ average at 400-level from a university in New Zealand or, at the discretion of the Associate Dean (Students) of the Faculty of Science, another university. 
    Note: This requirement may be waived by the Associate Dean (Students) of the Faculty of Science for a candidate who has had extensive practical, professional or scholarly experience of an appopriate kind. 
  2. Approved by the Programme Director and the Board of Studies as capable of proceeding with the proposed programme of study.

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Programme requirements

1. The course of study for the Master of Advanced Technology Enterprise (MAdvTecEnt) shall consist of courses worth at least 135 points, comprising:

  • Part 1: ATEN 501 - a 15-point course run intensively over 4 weeks. 
  • Part 2:  ATEN 591 - a 120-point thesis and development of business plan pitched to an investment panel.

2. Entry to Part 2 requires the successful completion of Part 1 with at least a B+ grade and acceptance by the Programme Director and Board of Studies.

3. Candidates must:

  • enrol full-time for Part 1 and Part 2; and
  • complete Part 1 and enrol in Part 2 in consecutive trimesters. 

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Apply online

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Jenny Douché, Programme Director
Email: jenny.douche@vuw.ac.nz 
Phone: 04-463 5479
Skype: 04-463 5479 

Shona de Sain, Associate Dean (Students)
Email: shona.desain@vuw.ac.nz
Phone: 04-463 5092
Skype: 04-463 5092