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Fonterra Dairy Scientist Wins US Award

Wednesday July 27,

Fonterra Dairy Scientist Wins US Award

Fonterra dairy scientist Dr Peter Munro has become the sixth New Zealander to win the American Dairy Science Association's highest research and development award for his contribution to the industry.

Dr Munro, Fonterra Dairy Cooperative Group's general manager planning and integration, was presented the 2005 Danisco (formerly called Marschall Rhodia) International Dairy Science Award in Ohio, USA today (Tuesday evening US time).

The award, established in 1980, recognises outstanding accomplishments in research and development outside the USA and Canada in chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, technology or engineering in the dairy foods industries.

Fonterra's Director of Innovation Bob Major says the award is a tribute to Dr Munro's outstanding contribution to the New Zealand dairy industry and to dairy science internationally.

"All New Zealanders should take tremendous pride in the achievement of scientists like Dr Munro, who are using their knowledge and skills to drive innovation and increase New Zealand's value-add capabilities in the global marketplace."

Dr Munro joined the former Dairy Research Institute, now Fonterra Innovation, in 1993 as programme leader (functionality) to provide scientific and technological leadership to improve understanding of milk protein and milk powder.

Commercial successes included development of a heat stable whey protein concentrate, improvements in instant whole milk powder functionality and development of a milk protein concentrate for use in cheese-making.

From1998, as general manager process technology, the work in his process technology development programme on novel cheese flavour technologies, novel whey protein isolate technologies, dehydration technologies, probiotics (beneficial lactic acid bacteria) and other bioactive milk components led to 20 new patents.

With the establishment of Fonterra Marketing and Innovation at Palmerston North in 2003, Dr Munro was appointed options manager - new business, with responsibility for evaluating the technical, market and financial feasibility of all projects within M&I. He was recently appointed general manager planning and integration.

Dr Munro says the biggest change he has seen in the industry is the approach to R&D, which is much more systematic than it used to be.

"Since M&I was formed, there's better focus on business outcomes from our R&D activities. We look at projects across the whole portfolio and we screen, value and prioritise them through an innovation pipeline. Using this rigorous process undoubtedly results in better allocation of resources and better outcomes."

A graduate of The University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Engineering (First Class Honours) in chemical and materials engineering, Dr Munro completed his doctorate at University College, University of London in 1976. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (UK) and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology.

In 1996, he was appointed an Honorary Professor, chemical and materials engineering, at The University of Auckland, and in 1998 Adjunct Professor, Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University.


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