Head of Spark Ventures, Rod Snodgrass (left) and AUT Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack.Spark and AUT University's Colab have signed an agreement that will see the two working on projects to \u201chelp solve real-world commercial problems\u201d. Colab is a research and teaching institute of AUT which brings together students, artists, scientists, engineers, gamers and business leaders. Spark says it has worked with universities before in a range of different ways, but this is the first such programme in which it will be working collaboratively with students to explore and create new digital technologies. \u201cSpark is always open to working with universities and polytechnics on digital solutions to help unleash New Zealand\u2019s potential,\u201d says Rod Snodgrass, CEO of Spark Ventures. He says the partnership signals a broader move within the technology space toward academics, creatives, corporates and other sectors working together to foster innovation.Rod Snodgrass, CEO, Spark Ventures Corporates, start-ups and universities need to find more ways to work together and contribute to innovation here in New Zealand and globallyRod Snodgrass, Spark Ventures\u201cI\u2019ve always thought that to achieve things like this, corporates, start-ups and universities need to find more ways to work together and contribute to innovation here in New Zealand and globally.\u201d \u201cColab is an exemplar of research and education using new technologies that is opening up new business opportunities and ways of doing things,\u201d says the co-director of AUT\u2019s Colab, associate professor Frances Joseph. \u201cWe are challenging old models to find solutions that have economic and social value.\u201d AUT Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack, says of the partnership: \u201cColab has advanced models of collaborative and integrated research and practice and is operating in ways that are very different from how universities have operated in the past.\u201d \u201cSpark is also doing things differently from traditional telcos, and has a proven track record in innovation and entrepreneurship. Because of these shared traits we felt it would be an excellent partner for Colab.\u201d Previous projects at Colab include winter gloves that use conductive fibres so people can use digital devices without having to remove them, a dress that has lights that reflect the wearer\u2019s mood, and a new form of bulletproof material.This LED t-shirt operated by bluetooth was created iby a Colab student.Send news tips and comments to email@example.comFollow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinapClick here to\nread digital editions of CIO\nNew ZealandSign up for CIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, views and events.Join us on Facebook.Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn.\nThe group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, CDOs, COOs, CTOs and senior IT\nmanagers.