Our history

Learn more about the history of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, a place which achieves excellence in research, graduate training and technical innovation.

Institute highlights

Originally a research group within the Department of Engineering Science, the Auckland Bioengineering Institute was established in 2001. Set up as a cross-faculty research institute, its focus is the application of the mathematical and engineering sciences to biology. Here are some of the highlights of our history.  


  • Institute spin-out StretchSense wins the Sports & Fitness category at the WT Innovation World Cup in Munich.


  • The partners of the Consortium for Medical Device Technologies were awarded funding from TEC to establish the Medical Technology Centre of Research Excellence (MedTech CoRE).  The CoRE is hosted by the University of Auckland, with nodes across partner organisations which include the universities of Canterbury, AUT, Otago and Victoria as well as Callaghan Innovation.
  • The Bioinstrumentation Lab won the 2014 New Zealand Innovators Award for 'Innovation Excellence in Research' with their needle-free jet injector.
  • The Institute won the Open Science award at the 2014 New Zealand Open Source Awards for contributing core technologies to the suite of software that enables the Physiome Project to explain how each and every component in the body, from the scale of molecules up to organ systems and beyond, works as part of the integrated whole.
  • Simon Malpas is awarded the Pickering Medal by the Royal Society of New Zealand for his pioneering work on wireless implantable devices to monitor the functions of the human body.


  • The Institute creates the start-up company, IMeasureU. This venture aims to provide turn-key, user-friendly, measurement and analysis systems that gives unparalleled information around body movement.
  • StretchSense wins Emerging New Zealand Innovator and Innovation in Design and Engineering at the New Zealand Innovators Awards.
  • Institute alumni and StretchSense CEO Dr Ben O'Brien wins the Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize.
  • IMeasureU wins the top prize in the 10th annual Spark entrepreneur competition.


  • The start-up company StretchSense emerges from the Biomimetics Laboratory.


  • Associate Professor Poul Nielsen is awarded a James Cook Research Fellowship in Engineering Sciences and Technologies.
  • Telemetry Research merges with Millar Instruments, a US-based company which develops innovative catheter-based, sensing technology used in clinical diagnosis and medical research.


  • Associate Professor Martyn Nash is awarded a James Cook Research Fellowship in Engineering Sciences and Technologies.
  • Three ABI research programmes win a share of Government investment in the Health Research Council of New Zealand funding round.
  • Professor Peter Hunter is honoured with the Royal Society of New Zealand’s highest accolade, the Rutherford Medal.


  • The Institute becomes the University of Auckland’s second Large Scale Research Institute, and is now officially known as the Auckland Bioengineering Institute.
  • The creation of the Industry Advisory Board (IAB) is confirmed by Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). The new entity provides opinion and advice to the Institute on commercialisation and knowledge transfer opportunities.


  • Accelerated growth of the CellML markup language and its associated tools and processes
  • The institute creates the start-up company, eBonz. This venture aims to provide 3D anatomically based models of all joints in the human body.


  • Professor Peter Hunter is elected to the Royal Society.
  • The institute expands its commercial activities. The Telemetry Research and Paragon Voice of Market projects experience growth.
  • The Institute begins open source development of the CMGui and OpenCMISS projects.


  • The Institute purchases major equipment to support its expanding research programme. The High Performance Computing facility, microCT, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging hardware are bought at this time.


  • The Institute focuses on the development of commercial activities, including the UnEmap System and Telemetry Research. The Entrepreneur In Residence scheme begins.


  • Professor Andrew Pullan is awarded a James Cook Research Fellowship in Engineering Sciences and Technologies.


  • The Institute is established at UniServices House, part of the city campus of the University of Auckland.


  • The Bioengineering Institute is created as a cross-faculty research centre incorporating members from the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.