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Wine Industry, Researchers And Educators Mark Milestone With MOU

Three institutions offering wine and viticulture courses have signed an agreement that will see them collaborate on research and student learning with the Marlborough Research Centre and Marlborough-based Bragato Research Institute.

The Memorandum of Understanding brings together tutors and students from Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawkes Bay, Otago Polytechnic, the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, whose Budge St campus also houses Bragato’s research winery, as well as the Marlborough Research Centre.

MRC Chief Executive Gerald Hope says the MOU is another milestone towards the development of the campus as the national centre for wine-making and viticulture, following on from the opening of the Bragato research winery in February.

“This MOU paves the way for research collaboration between some of the country’s leading wine and viticulture tutors, their students, and the top research scientists and technicians based at Bragato Research Institute.

“We expect this to be the foundation for ongoing collaborative research and supervision up to graduate and post-graduate level and potentially right up to Masters of Wine students. We are also wanting to work with our education partners and iwi to establish some new student scholarships.”

The Marlborough Research Centre currently has a co-funding application with the Provincial Growth Fund to take the New Zealand Wine Centre to the next level and provide an integrated national facility for wine research, education, industry innovation and investment.

NMIT’s Director Marlborough, Carole Crawford, said the collaborative arrangement sat well with and paralleled the establishment of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

“This further strengthens the existing relationship between MRC, BRI and NMIT. Both Otago Polytechnic and EIT have long-standing relationships with NMIT sharing education expertise in the field of grapes and wine, so this collaboration adds further strength for all parties.

“The investment into the Budge Street campus will ensure sustainable, state-of-the-art, world-class facilities right here in Marlborough, supporting our region and the NZ wine industry. It’s an exciting time for our stakeholders.’’

Sue Blackmore, Head of School, Viticulture and Wine Science at EIT said the new MOU was close to being signed pre Covid-19 but the value brought by involving several composite parts of the newly emerging New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology was worth the wait.

“This is a great step in terms of building collaboration and solidifying existing goodwill.”

The Marlborough Research Centre will receive proposals for collaborative projects and leverage funding from industry and Government. The first projects emerging from the MOU could be in place later this year.

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