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University to play key role in first of Science Challenges

High-Value Nutrition – University of Auckland to play key role in first of national Science Challenges

The Government’s High-Value Nutrition Science Challenge launched today in Auckland is an opportunity to explore new frontiers in clinical science to support New Zealand food exporters, says University of Auckland Chair of Nutrition Professor David Cameron-Smith.

The Government’s High-Value Nutrition Science Challenge launched today in Auckland is an opportunity to explore new frontiers in clinical science to support New Zealand food exporters, says University of Auckland Chair of Nutrition Professor David Cameron-Smith.

In an announcement by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today, the University of Auckland, Massey University and University of Otago, along with Crown Research Institutes AgResearch and Plant & Food Research, will team up for the Government’s High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge.

The task for the scientists from the five institutions is to produce, with other collaborators, cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary research to help New Zealand companies take advantage of global demand for foods with health benefits.

This ten year challenge is approved with initial funding of $30.6 million subject to finalisation of contract conditions. A review at the end of five years means another $53.2 million becomes available for a second five-year period. Total funding for the High-Value Nutrition Challenge is up to $180.8 million over ten years when co-funding is included.

“The Government has clearly signalled the science challenges must involve cutting-edge clinical, food and consumer science research that takes us in a new direction and we will be focused on exactly that,” says Professor David Cameron-Smith, Chair in Nutrition at the University of Auckland and head of the Science Leadership Team for the Challenge.

“Food is central to our economy and we are delighted to have been given the opportunity to both enhance health and contribute significantly to this country’s export success.”

Dr John Smart, University of Auckland Director of Research Partnerships says: “The National Science Challenges require us to rethink the way research organisations and researchers work together to achieve national goals. We think we have developed a collaborative model in High-value Nutrition that will be an exemplar for others to follow.”

The goals of the High-Value Nutrition Challenge are to establish a centre of research that is an authoritative voice on food-for-health claims, both nationally and internationally and to carry out biomedical research to develop new foods that meet consumer-driven demand both in New Zealand and overseas.
The research collaboration will help New Zealand companies to develop foods and beverages that improve health and scientists involved will provide scientific evidence to validate health claims for food products made in New Zealand but destined for offshore markets.

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