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Lincoln named for leadership of new CRE

Lincoln named for leadership of new Centre of Research Excellence

National research leadership in biosecurity, biocontrol, agri-biotechnology and Matauranga Maori bio-protection has been awarded to Lincoln University with the success (announced today 19.11) of its bid for Ministry of Education funding to establish a campus-based National Centre for Advanced Bio-Protection Technologies.

The bid - one of only two successful cases from six made last week in the second round of applications for support from the Ministry’s Centre of Research Excellence budget - is the sole South Island award.

The Centre of Research Excellence fund was established by the Government in the 2001 Budget with $60 million of operational and capital funding to establish five specialist centres of research in New Zealand. A further $58 million was added in this year’s Budget for the creation of additional centres.

“The aim is to support world-class research which is fundamental to growing a more innovative New Zealand,” says Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey. “The centres will push the frontiers of knowledge in key areas vital for New Zealand’s future.”

Funding for the Lincoln centre will be $2.7 million per year over the six-year funding period plus a capital equipment grant.

The Centre will have a Board of Management headed by former Science and Technology Minister the Rt. Hon. Simon Upton and an Executive Management Group headed by Centre Director Professor Alison Stewart of Lincoln University.

In addition to Lincoln University researchers, the Centre brings together scientists from 10 linked organisations throughout New Zealand - Crop and Food Research, AgResearch, HortResearch, Landcare, Forest Research, Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand, Massey University, Auckland University, Canterbury University, Auckland University of Technology.

Research proposed by the Centre is divided into four themes -

World leading biosecurity: Developing state-of-the-art sensor technologies, molecular identification systems and mathematical models to protect against pest and disease incursions at borders and elsewhere. New generation biocontrol: Developing advanced biocontrol technologies for sustainable agriculture and environmental protection. Advanced agri-biotechnology: Using biotechnology to create opportunities for developing superior crops with enhanced resistance. Matauranga Maori bio-protection: Developing agricultural technologies that value and sustain matauranga and tikanga Maori leading to greater Maori participation at all levels of primary industry development decision-making.

“In summary the Centre’s research will be focused on cutting edge science that can be applied in the form of new technologies for protecting New Zealand’s greatest assets - its land and the land’s sustainable economic productivity,” says Professor Stewart.

“We already have an impressive network of international research collaborators including strong links to agri-business/biotechnology companies throughout Australasia that will facilitate technology commercialisation.

“The Centre will also provide high calibre multidisciplinary postgraduate training in science and technology that will have multiple benefits for New Zealand through the interrelated facets of wealth creation, environmental sustainability, social development and personal well-being.”

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