AgResearch to invest $100m in new science through innovation hubs

AgResearch, New Zealand’s largest Crown Research Institute, has announced a major investment programme described as the largest of its kind in New Zealand agricultural science.

Reflecting global trends in science and research, AgResearch is working with a range of research providers and sector interests to create innovation hubs. These will enhance collaboration and better link the sector from academic and research organisations through to sector partners and private companies.

The Lincoln Hub was announced today by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce. It is said to be a prime example of how the hubs will bring together a range of partners with a focus on specific areas and specialities.

AgResearch says it is planning to invest $100 million in facilities and resources over the next four years to boost scientific support for NZ’s largest economic sector and most important industry.

“This represents the largest investment programme focused on agricultural science in AgResearch’s history and will better position us to help the pastoral sector sustainably improve productivity, export performance and deliver greater value to the New Zealand economy,” says AgResearch Chairman Sam Robinson.

“This will provide our science and support staff, our industry and Government partners, and the sector as a whole, access to scientific support, facilities and innovation that will help us provide safe, premium-value food that meets the world’s growing demands.”

AgResearch Chief Executive Dr Tom Richardson said the new investment programme comes at an exciting time in the agricultural sector as it collectively seeks to deliver on the potential to grow agri-food and agricultural export earnings to $60 billion by 2025.

“To achieve that ambition, we will need to stay at the forefront of global advances in agricultural science. We need the right infrastructure and working environment for our staff and to attract the best talent from New Zealand and overseas.

“We are proposing to have a focus on farm systems, environmental science and dairying at our Ruakura campus in Hamilton. Much of the beyond-the-farm-gate science is proposed to be at our Grasslands campus in Palmerston North. At Lincoln we are proposing to concentrate many of our on-farm research areas and our Invermay campus, near Dunedin, is proposed to predominantly focus on environmental and farm systems capability,” says Dr Richardson.

He said now the programme has the support of shareholding Ministers, work will commence with a detailed design and consultation phase.

“Our first priority is working through the programme in detail with our staff. We will also be working with our scientific collaborators and sector partners to progress this investment.”

The new investment programme, starting this year, will be funded predominantly through the disposal of existing under-utilised assets, and will not require any new Government investment to be provided.

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