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$1.75m for NZ-Singapore ‘Foods for Health’ projects

Hon Steven Joyce

Minister of Science & Innovation
23 June 2014 Media Statement
$1.75m for NZ-Singapore ‘Foods for Health’ projects

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced that the Government will invest NZ$1.75 million to fund New Zealand-Singapore collaborative research projects on the development of food products with validated health benefits.

New Zealand’s investment will be matched by Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), bringing the total investment amount to approximately NZ$3.5 million over two years.

“One of the goals of the Business Growth Agenda is to grow exports from 30 per cent to 40 per cent of GDP by 2025. Continuing to develop our innovation in the food science and technology industry will be a key contributor to achieving this,” Mr Joyce says.

“We must discover and apply new ways of adding value to the goods that we produce. Developing foods with proven health benefits are one important way of doing this.”

The five projects selected to receive funding are:

• Plant & Food Research in collaboration with Singapore Polytechnic, National University of Singapore and A*STAR’s Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences – on Singaporean Consumer Attitudes and Preferences;

• University of Otago in collaboration with A*STAR’s Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences and National University Health System – on weaning foods as drivers of bowel microbiota: implications for child growth and obesity;

• Massey University, the University of Auckland and AgResearch in collaboration with the Clinical Nutrition Research Centre, A*STAR-NUS and A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering – on Biomarker development and validation for use in human clinical studies of food in Asian populations;

• The University of Auckland in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and A*STAR’s Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences – on Biomarkers development for personalised pregnancy diet; and

• AgResearch in collaboration with A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering – on Encapsulation technology for delivering bioactives to the surface of the small intestine.

“Ensuring that New Zealand has strong international science and innovation relationships is critical. Our small size means we contribute a very small proportion of the world’s research and development activity. Therefore, sharing knowledge and working collaboratively with countries such as Singapore is a very important part of developing our own innovations,” Mr Joyce says.

“At the same time, our innovative food scientists and technologies have given New Zealand an international reputation as a producer of high quality and safe food products, which makes this collaboration an exciting opportunity for Singapore.”

The Singapore-New Zealand collaboration is a result of a Memorandum of Arrangement being signed between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and A*STAR in June 2013. The Arrangement allowed Singapore and New Zealand to launch a joint request for research proposals on ‘Foods for Health’ in December 2013. There is strong alignment between this initiative and New Zealand’s ‘High Value Nutrition’ National Science Challenge.

Contracts for the collaborative projects will commence in June 2014, and will be funded through MBIE’s International Relationships Fund.

ENDS

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