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Two New Centres of Research Excellence Announced

Two New Centres of Research Excellence Announced

The Royal Society of New Zealand has announced the selection of two additional centres of research excellence. They are:

National Centre for Advanced Bio-Protection Technologies

Host Institution: Lincoln University. Director: Professor Alison Stewart, tel. (03) 325 2811 ext. 8196 Partners: Massey University, New Zealand Crop and Food Research Ltd and AgResearch Ltd. This centre brings together a multidisciplinary group of researchers to meet the pest management and biosecurity needs of New Zealand. It aims to lead the world in biosecurity, developing state of the art sensor technologies, molecular identification systems and mathematical models to protect against pest and disease incursions. The Centre will also develop new generation biocontrol, superior crops with enhanced pesticide resistance. Another aim is to develop agricultural technologies that value and sustain matauranga and tikanga Maori. Centre members come from a wide range of disciplines including pest management, biotechnology, organics and Maori knowledge and tikanga. A unique feature of the Centre will be world's third Biotron, a purpose-built facility that allows complex ecosystems to be modeled under precisely controlled environmental parameters.

Operational funding for the first three years: $8.142 M

National Centre for Growth and Development

Host Institution: The University of Auckland Director: Professor Peter Gluckman tel (09) 373 7999 ext 6476 Partners: Massey University, University of Otago, with contributions from AgResearch Ltd.

The National Centre for Growth and Development will combine basic biomedical techniques with experimental and clinical physiology to develop new preventative and therapeutic approaches to human health and improve animal productivity in agriculture. This will boost New Zealand's budding biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. The centre's research focuses on the early periods of life, such as the causes and consequences of low birth weight and prematurity. This focus also will see investigation into how genes and the environment interact to regulate growth, development and disease; how to prevent brain injury in newborn babies; and developmental biology therapies for neurological disease in adults. Another major commitment of the centre will be preparing scientists for the future by training students, especially Maori, and encouraging school students to consider a career in the biological sciences. Operational funding for the first three years: $12.509 M

The establishment of two further centres has been made possible by additional funding announced by the Associate Minister of Education, Steve Maharey, as part of the 2002 Budget. In addition to the operational funding, the centres will also receive funding from the $20 M Capital Fund included in the Budget announcement.

These two centres were chosen from six proposals which were shortlisted in the first round, but could not be funded within the available budget. These applicants were invited to re-submit their proposals for consideration by the CoRE Fund Committee, chaired by Sir Paul Reeves.

Both are expected to start operating from 1 February 2003.

The Centres of Research Excellence Fund is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand, under contract to the Ministry of Education.

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