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Centres of Research Excellence – delivered

Centres of Research Excellence – signed, sealed and delivered

The signing of contracts establishing two further Centres of Research Excellence was announced today, with all seven of these new world-class research centres now up and running.

The National Centre for Advanced Bio-Protection Technologies (based at Lincoln University) and the National Research Centre for Growth and Development (based at The University of Auckland) can now open for business, and will help make a major contribution to New Zealand's future economic growth and social development. Overall, the Government has allocated $123m in a mix of operating and capital funding for both the new centres and the five centres established in 2002.

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey welcomed the speedy settlement of the contracts and the investment in research and development critical for the future that they represent.

"The Government is committed to world-class research, as these new contracts demonstrate. New Zealand is a small country, but we are known for punching above our weight.

“The Royal Society has negotiated funding for the new Centres as follows. The National Centre for Advanced Bio-Protection Technologies: $9.616m over four years and a one-off capital grant of up to $5.729m; The National Research Centre for Growth and Development: $13.057m over four years and a one-off capital grant of up to $5.226m.

“These centres will continue that tradition through partnerships between Universities, and between Universities and Crown Research Institutes. They will act as clusters, creating for the first time critical masses of research excellence.

“They will also help drive forward the innovation that we need in order to creating a more prosperous and socially-inclusive New Zealand,” Steve Maharey said.

New Centres of Research Excellence

National Centre for Advanced Bio-Protection Technologies Host Institution: Lincoln University, Director: Professor Alison Stewart, (03) 325 2811 extn 8196 Partners: Massey University, New Zealand Crop and Food Research Ltd and AgResearch Ltd.

Funding: three year operational funding of $9.616m and a one-off capital grant of up to $5.729m.

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 modelled under precisely controlled environmental parameters.

National Research Centre for Growth and Development Host Institution: The University of Auckland, Director: Professor Peter Gluckman, (09) 373 7999 extn 86634 Partners: Massey University, University of Otago, with contributions from AgResearch Ltd.

Funding: three year operational funding of $13.057m and a one-off capital grant of up to $5.226m.

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.

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