Adjunct associate professor Dr Ralf Schlothauer will be responsible for developing our Research & Development plan as well as getting co-funded research initiatives off the ground.

Having trained as a process engineer in Hamburg, Germany, Ralf was awarded a PhD from the Technical University of Hamburg in Bioprocess Engineering in 1996. He subsequently joined Massey University in NZ as a lecturer before accepting a role at the NZDRI as a research engineer.

In 2001 he returned to Germany to work in the area of functional foods and probiotic bacteria with Danisco before accepting a role at Comvita in 2006 as Chief Technology Officer with overall strategic and functional responsibility for research and development. Ralf led Comvita’s innovation team (CIL) at the Institute for Innovation and Biotechnology (IIB) at The University of Auckland, where he works lectures for the course of master of bioscience enterprise. Ralf teaches at undergrad level on fermentation, probiotic cultures and functional foods.

Ralf’s special interest lies in evolving systems research, namely not only looking at isolated factors, but developing a holistic approach for a broader picture. The skill at looking for synergies and broader context was essential for the development of the open educational innovation model at CIL.