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The colours and categories of biotechnology


The world of biotechnology is as colourful as it is beneficial. 

Polish professor Pawel Kafarski created a rainbow colour code to differentiate the main areas of biotechnology: white (industrial), green (agricultural), blue (marine and freshwater), red (pharmaceutical), brown (desert biotechnology), purple (patents and inventions) and yellow (applied entomology that covers the use of insects in drug discovery), among others. 

Add to that an array of new sectors in which biotech plays a part – deep tech, hard tech, cleantech, climate tech, energy tech, power tech, medtech, healthtech – and we have a showcase of colours, categories and terminologies that all contribute to the broader definition of biotechnology.

Because of this, biotechnology gets lost in the noise of definitions, even though it plays an important role in these newly created sectors. 

Should we embrace these new definitions, start thinking of the bigger picture for New Zealand, and talk more about the technology sector (as discussed by David Darling, Pacific Edge, at the Dunedin event on 11 February)? I think we should. 

“New Zealand has 29,000 tech firms with nearly 100,000 employees contributing $16.2 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) and producing $6.3 billion in exports. It’s this country’s third biggest revenue earner.”
– Innovating for a Sustainable Future

There is a lack of understanding around what biotech is and its role. BioTechNZ, within the Tech Alliance, is in a perfect place to raise awareness and ensure New Zealanders understand the importance of biotech for our future, and that we play a role in the tech sector. In 2021, BioTechNZ plans to:

  • Be active in the NZ Tech Story
  • Run media campaigns
  • Partner with similar voices to raise awareness of the importance of new biotechnologies and genomics 
  • Develop key messages for Government and news stories to support sector promotion
  • Capture sector metrics and promote sector growth

2020 was a big year for BioTechNZ, and it is even more important that we continue in 2021 to increase our membership to enable us to do more for the sector. We encourage any organisation with an interest in biotech based products, services or solutions to join.

Why join BioTechNZ?

  • Connect with others in the biotech ecosystem
  • Attend BioTechNZ events
  • Help shape the biotech agenda
  • Promote collaboration across industry and Government
  • Participate in domestic and international biotech opportunities for economic growth
  • Be part of the wider New Zealand Tech Alliance

For more information on joining BioTechNZ, click here.

It’s been a tough year, going in and out of lockdown, but a quote from The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy, “One of our greatest freedoms is how we react to things.”

Stay safe

Zahra Champion
Executive Director

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BioTechNZ Our aim is to raise awareness and increase the understanding to enable our nation to embrace the best opportunities biotech offers to us daily, helping us live better, healthier and more productive lives.