Joining forces to meet today's scientific challenges
To deliver valuable scientific outcomes that meet the agricultural sector’s ever-changing challenges, AgResearch is firmly focused on building capability through alliances with research institutions and industry groups, here and internationally.
National research collaborations include AgResearch as a partner in three Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs) – Lincoln University’s Bioprotection Research Centre, Growth and Development based at the University of Auckland, and the Riddet Institute for scientific research into foods and human nutrition, hosted by Massey University. AgResearch is also the host and a partner in the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (see page 10).
AgResearch partnerships in agri-foods include the University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute, Food Innovation Network New Zealand (FINNZ), Food Innovation New Zealand (FINZ), New Zealand Food Innovation Centre (NZFIC) and Nutrigenomics NZ. AgResearch is also a partner in the EpiGen Consortium, which brings together AgResearch, The Liggins Institute, Southampton University and the UK Medical Research Council, as well as two institutes in Singapore for a unique set ofcapabilities and resources for research into epigenetics. In addition, Protein Innovation New Zealand (PINZ) was launched in 2009, a research consortium made up of AgResearch, Mars Petcare and Massey University, that aims to make New Zealand globally recognised as a leader in innovative meat science for pet foods.
Funding joint Chairs with universities has proved a successful means of establishing partnerships. AgResearch co-funds the Chair in Systems Thinking with the University of Queensland, the Chair in Reproduction and Genomics with the University of Otago, and an Associate Professorship in structural biology at the University of Waikato.
AgResearch has a significant number of other international links. One of these is a longstanding research partnership with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Livestock Industries Division. In Scotland, AgResearch has developed research partnerships with the Moredun Institute, a centre of animal disease research expertise, and the Scottish Agricultural College.
Alongside growing collaborations with universities and research institutions around the world, AgResearch’s science programmesincreasingly involve partnerships with farmers, farm suppliers, agribusiness and industry groups, processors and organisations throughout the agricultural product value chain. Working with each link of the food and textile value chains is essential to develop research that will directly benefit New Zealand’s agricultural sector, and economy.
Just a few of AgResearch’s key industry partnerships (and recent research activity from these partnerships) include Fonterra and Dairy NZ (managing nitrogen loss from pasture), Beef + Lamb New Zealand (Pasture Quality and ForageMaster workshops), Grasslanz Technology and PGG Wrightson Seeds (forage cultivars containing novel endophytes such as AR1 and AR37), and Elders Primary Wool (has the worldwide exclusive option for AgResearch’s Verifi TT textile traceability technology in wool carpets).
AgResearch Chief Scientist Dr Stephen Goldson says international collaboration in science is growing ever more important as the world deals with global issues such as climate change, greenhouse gas abatement, food security, biosecurity and zoonotic diseases.