Govt approves updated AgResearch Future Footprint Plan

Here’s an item of news of importance especially to AgResearch staffers that we missed when it was announced last week by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce.

Shareholding ministers have approved AgResearch’s updated Future Footprint Programme (FFP) business case which will reconfigure the Institute’s operations across four sites with an investment of $133 million in buildings and other infrastructure.

AgResearch had presented a strong business case for change, Joyce said. The FFP would modernise its facilities and co-locate research staff doing complementary work at the Palmerston North and Lincoln campuses.

These campuses will form part of larger innovation hubs with other partners including tertiary institutions, Crown Research Institutes and industry researchers. The hubs will focus on food science in Palmerston North, and land-based sustainable productivity at Lincoln Hub.

Teams will continue to be maintained at AgResearch’s Ruakura (Hamilton) and Invermay (Mosgiel) campuses to focus on regional and specific farm systems and environmental issues.

Approximately 199 AgResearch staff positions are planned for relocation over the next four years as a result of the Future Footprint programme. This is 83 fewer than in the original proposal.

AgResearch will self-fund the programme through cash reserves, asset sales and debt.

“Shareholding ministers have made clear their expectations that AgResearch will implement the business case successfully and work with hub partners to ensure that its developments complement and reinforce the work being done across the science system,” Mr Joyce says.

“It is also our expectation that AgResearch will consult Ministers further in advance of key construction commitments for both the Palmerston North and Lincoln building projects.”

“Investing in these new facilities will allow AgResearch to grow and develop their research capabilities for the future. It will also help attract new high quality science teams to work alongside private sector stakeholders.”

Joyce said he was confident the Future Footprint would represent a major step forward in research capability for the primary sector.”

The Future Footprint Programme business case is available here.

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