New Acting Vice-Chancellor at Lincoln University will take up post in January

Professor Bruce McKenzie has been appointed Acting Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University, taking over from Professor James McWha in January.

The appointment of Professor McKenzie, now Lincoln’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, follows the Government’s initiative to investigate an alternative structural arrangement for the university, which has resulted in partnership discussions with the University of Canterbury.

Negotiations continue and both parties will provide a proposal to Education Minister Chris Hipkins in December.

Chancellor Steve Smith said Professor McKenzie will provide solid, stable leadership to Lincoln while its future is determined.

“Bruce is well known to Lincoln and has a proven track record of impeccable leadership after working at the university for more than 30 years,” he said.

“Staff have shown overwhelming support for his appointment, and we are thrilled that Bruce has agreed to take on the role.”

Professor McKenzie’s association with the university began in the early 1980s, when he attended Lincoln as a postgraduate student, completing a postgraduate diploma in agricultural science and then a PhD in agronomy and crop science.

For 22 years he was an Associate Professor of Agronomy, responsible for teaching a range of classes in plant science, statistics and annual crop production.

In 2008, he became Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, which involved managing 150 staff members in four departments.

He worked in this role for more than seven years before becoming the university’s Chief Academic Officer, overseeing Lincoln’s academic faculties, as well as the Library, Teaching and Learning department, University Studies and English Language, and the Research Management Office.

He was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor earlier this year.

Outgoing Vice-Chancellor Professor McWha is expected to take on the role of Provost, which will involve offering advice, guidance and support to the university.

Professor McKenzie will take over as Acting Vice-Chancellor from 1 January 2019 and remain in the position until 30 June 2020.

Source:  Lincoln University


Massey offers new horticultural science degree

Massey University will offer a stand-alone horticulture degree in 2019, the Bachelor of Horticultural Science.

The degree was developed with the horticulture industry.

The Head of the School of Agriculture and Environment, Professor Peter Kemp, says the excitement for the degree from the industry and students has been incredible.

“It goes to show that this degree was really needed.

“It will give students the broad knowledge they will need in future jobs. They will learn about horticultural science, technology, production, logistics and pre and post-harvest management with an applied focus on experiential learning and real-world competencies. The feature of the degree is its interdisciplinary approach that combines science, technology and business applied across the whole value chain from genetics to the final consumer in the international markets, as opposed to focusing on one part of the value chain and one discipline.”

Professor Kemp says co-development was key from the start and the degree has been developed with close engagement from industry leaders, with particular support from the Horticultural Capability Group, Horticulture New Zealand and their respective member entities.

“Together we have been looking at how to best educate future graduates for what will be needed and we’ve been looking at how we may attract more people into the well-paying careers.”

Bachelor of AgriScience student Cam Vincent, based in Christchurch and studying via distance, plans to switch to the new horticulture degree.

“My passion is horticulture and my plan is to become a horticultural entrepreneur, creating environmentally friendly businesses which focus first on staff, then customers, then profits.

“The new degree seems to focus more on horticultural production and technologies used in horticulture, which I believe will help prepare me and others for the future horticulture is bringing to New Zealand.”

Mr Vincent said he finds horticulture is changing rapidly with new technologies. To focus on the new breakthroughs in horticulture excites him.

Source: Massey University

Dairy research is showcased to Chinese consumers

A group from Asia’s largest dairy company toured Lincoln University recently to see some of the ongoing collaborative work between the two organisations.

Among the visitors were five consumers of the Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., Ltd (Yili), who had won a competition to visit New Zealand and gain a first-hand understanding of how dairy products can be traced from paddock to plate.

Lincoln University works closely with Yili to carry out research across all facets of dairy, from production to final consumer products.

The group visited the Lincoln University Demonstration Dairy Farm and toured campus, as well as the university’s food labs.

Some of the consumers streamed the event live via a social media app so they could share the experience with hundreds of thousands of Yili consumers in China.

Yili Innovation Centre Oceania R&D Manager Dr Philip Wescombe said it was important to allow the consumers to learn more about the science and technology involved in manufacturing and developing new dairy products.

“Many consumers do not realise the significant work that goes on behind the scenes to develop healthy, safe and nutritious products.

“The visit to Lincoln was an opportunity to showcase the ongoing collaboration between Yili and the university and further emphasise the important nutritional role that dairy has for maintaining health in the general population.”

Dr Wescombe said Yili’s vision was “to be the most trustworthy global healthy food provider”.

“To help us achieve this, we have established international innovation centres in two of the most respected dairy exporting nations, New Zealand and the Netherlands. The centres work closely with research institutions that have expertise in dairy production, food safety and processing.

“After developing Oceania Dairy Limited, Yili’s first green fields production site at Glenavy in the South Island of New Zealand, it made a lot of sense to partner with Lincoln University.

“Lincoln is well placed to continue to apply research excellence alongside the industrial and market expertise within Yili.”

As the demand for dairy in China continues to grow, Dr Westcombe said developing new, innovative products is a constant challenge “and one that the food and dairy science experts at Lincoln will be instrumental in helping us to address”.

Source: Lincoln University

‘Wormy lambs’ video takes out national award

Massey University PhD student Seer Ikurio has won a Royal Society Te Apārangi award for his video about lambs and worms.

Mr Ikurio won the Future Leader Award as part of the Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Researcher video competition – 180 Seconds of Discovery. The award comes with a $3000 prize.

His video was titled, ‘Wormy lambs: Using sensing technologies to make targeted treatments’.

The competition asked New Zealand-based postgraduate students to share their research in a three-minute video, uploaded to The videos received over 20,000 views from around world and a total of 1326 votes.

Earlier this year, Mr Ikurio, from the School of Veterinary Science, was voted the People’s Choice Award of $1000 for his presentation titled, ‘My lamb is behaving odd, it might have worms’ at the Massey University’s doctoral Three-Minute Thesis final.

The video was edited by David Achegbulu.

Source:  Massey University

Sundar helps change Nepalese agriculture

PhD student Sundar Tiwari’s PhD research is helping to change the face of Nepalese agriculture.

Sundar, who comes from a rural Nepalese village, did his BSc and MSc in agricultural entomology at Tribhubhan University, Nepal. He works as an assistant professor at the Nepal Agriculture and Forestry University, focusing on integrated pest management

With the help of a PhD scholarship from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Sundar joined the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University in 2016 and began research into sustainable intensification of Nepalese agriculture.

In his New Zealand-based research Sundar is seeking an alternative approach to pest management, looking to identify “trap plants” that can draw the wheat bug (Nysius huttoni) away from kale seedlings.

His experiments show that the popular garden plant alyssum (Lobularia maritima) has the highest potential as a trap plant for the bug, and it also provides many other ecosystem services (such as providing nectar for beneficial insects).

Working in Nepal on radish crops, he showed how to reduce aphid populations without pesticides, using alyssum flower strips around the fields.

“This technique is very simple and poor farmers can easily adopt it, especially because it costs less than using pesticides,” Sundar says.

Sundar has introduced many Nepalese farmers, students, and others in the agriculture sector to the concept of habitat management and multiple ecosystem services, and his work is influencing Nepalese agricultural policy.

“This work in my home country has made a real difference and is one of the many factors which have made my PhD training at Lincoln University so enjoyable,” he says.

Sundar’s supervisor is Professor Steve Wratten; his co-supervisor is Professor Nick Dickinson.

Source:  Lincoln University

European students explore alternative agriculture

Students from Lincoln University’s partner universities in the Euroleague for Life Sciences (ELLS), an exclusive network of leading European universities, were getting a different perspective of New Zealand farming recently.

The master’s-level interdisciplinary student group travelled to Lincoln’s Mount Grand station and the Lake Hawea area of Central Otago.

From Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague University of Copenhagen, University of Hohenheim, and University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, as well as other partner institutions, they were taking part in a summer course to investigate alternative agri-environmental farming systems.

ELLS was established to promote educational collaborations in fields such as animal, agricultural, food and environmental science; ecological engineering; natural resources management; and landscape architecture and spatial planning.

Alternative high country sheep farming futures for Mount Grand, a 1600 ha sheep station located in the High Country in Central Otago, were  investigated.

Professor Alison Bailey and Dr Wendy McWilliam accompanied the group and reported that the students gained an understanding of the station and were tasked with finding and evaluating alternative ways to improve its economic, socio-cultural and environmental sustainability and resiliency.

They scaled Mount Grand to explore key areas of existing indigenous biodiversity  and explored alternative options such as the addition of cherry farming, a vineyard and winery, tramping hut, mountain biking, horse trekking, restaurant, wedding venue, canyon swing, trophy hunting, Manuka honey production and lavender farming.

Source:  Lincoln University

Minister says potential partnership between two universities shows promise

The prospect of a partnership or merger between Lincoln University and Canterbury University has been welcomed by Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

He said he was looking for it to demonstrate how it would significantly enhance Lincoln’s unique contribution to the land-based sectors of the New Zealand economy.

“We need to encourage more people to study and work in the land-based sectors to meet industry demand, increase productivity and tackle technological and environmental challenges,” Mr Hipkins said.

“Canterbury and Lincoln’s proposal to explore a merger or partnership might help to achieve that by enhancing Lincoln’s capacity to deliver world-leading teaching and research.

“It is critical that New Zealand has strong and stable, multi-disciplinary, university-based teaching and research that best supports the land based sector, and this process will help determine whether a partnership or a merger with Canterbury would achieve this at Lincoln.”

Both parties are expected to submit their formal proposal by the end of the year.

Government commitment of up to $85 million of Crown capital funding to help Lincoln fund its share of a joint education and research facility with AgResearch is not affected by this process, Mr Hipkins said.

The Government has declared it is committed to Lincoln remaining at its present site and retaining its brand and identity.

Source: Minister of Education