New Zealand’s agricultural and food innovation hubs are one step closer to reality with the appointment of a leading project management firm.
AgResearch has appointed Christchurch based The Project Office, to plan and manage the delivery of its campus plans, including the development of its parts of the Lincoln Hub, at Lincoln and the FoodHQ hub at Palmerston North. The appointment was made in consultation with partner organisations collaborating in the Hubs.
AgResearch chief executive, Dr Tom Richardson says that undertaking this project in collaboration with sector partners has many advantages.
“Tighter links with agricultural tertiary institutions, large research organisations, industry bodies and the private sector – all within a five to ten minute walk will not only deliver better science nationally, it will also help us retain and attract talented employees for science and the pastoral sector, and foster capability growth,” he says.
“We have a unique opportunity to work with our Hub partners to jointly plan and construct integrated shared facilities which will maximise the return on the capital we all invest.”
Lincoln University’s Vice-Chancellor Andy West welcomes the announcement, describing it as positive.
“It is the first of the practical steps that will enhance AgResearch’s scientific capacity at Lincoln. It also reinforces creation of the Lincoln Hub.”
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says all the partners are keen to keep the momentum up on developing the Lincoln hub.
“More than 40 percent of the dairy industry’s milk solids are produced in the South Island now so we’re keen to drive it forward. Bringing this project management support on board will really help with that,” he says.
“Our focus as an industry body is on ensuring the hub is set up from the start to deliver real value for our farmers across the country.”
Massey University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says Massey University has worked closely with New Zealand’s land-based industries for more than 85 years, and further development of Food HQ will enhance this.
“Massey, as part of FoodHQ, will be able to work with public and private sector partners to achieve the goal of dramatically lifting the value of New Zealand’s food-related products. We will also be able to compete on the world stage with other global centres of food innovation research.”
Peter Chudleigh, partner at The Project Office says their experience with large scale, complex projects means they are particularly well-placed to help realise the plans for AgResearch and its Hub partners.
“The way the Hub partners are embracing collaboration is a very positive initiative. Understanding what makes these businesses successful is key to delivering the very best facilities,” he says.
The confirmed partners with AgResearch at the Lincoln Hub include DairyNZ, Landcare Research, Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research.
The confirmed partners with AgResearch at Food HQ in Palmerston North include AsureQuality, BioCommerce Centre, ESR, Fonterra, Massey University, Plant & Food Research and Riddet Institute.