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CRI And University Work Together To Train Scientists Of The Future

10 July 2024

Auckland, New Zealand 

The University of Auckland and Plant & Food Research have confirmed their commitment to ensuring science capability is embedded in the primary sector workforce, with the signing of a new agreement to continue the Joint Graduate School in Plant and Food Science.

Since it was established in 2010, the Joint Graduate School has supported more than 200 students studying for postgraduate qualifications in applied science and research vital to ensuring the ongoing success of Aotearoa New Zealand’s primary sector. Ten Plant & Food Research staff have co-appointments with the University through the Joint Graduate School, promoting collaboration between the two organisations.

Plant & Food Research Chief Scientist, Professor Richard Newcomb, says the Joint Graduate School offers students a unique opportunity to see how they can add value to the primary sector by building a career in applied research.

“By undertaking research with direct benefits to the primary sector, students can see firsthand how science is making a difference to New Zealand’s economic and environmental sustainability. It’s important we have the right people with the right skills to meet the future needs of the food and fibre sector to ensure we have enough food for our own nation and to support the export economy, while protecting our unique environment.”

By joining the Joint Graduate School, students are offered the opportunity to undertake research in a range of topics, including biosecurity and bioprotection; plant breeding and genetics; crop physiology and soil science; entomology and pollination; and food and nutrition. Students are provided with supervisors from both the University and Plant & Food Research, offering the opportunity to work on real-world problems and gain industry perspective, as well as research excellence.

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Professor Vivien Kirk, Associate Dean Postgraduate Research of the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Science, says the Joint Graduate School provides access to more opportunities for students interested in applied research.

“The Joint Graduate School provides a platform for the complementary capabilities and facilities of the University and Plant & Food Research to be combined, enabling richer experiences for postgraduate students and broader opportunities for research collaboration. The University is delighted that the ongoing commitment to collaboration has been formalised in this renewed agreement.”

Over the 2024 academic year, the Joint Graduate School is supporting more than 40 postgraduate students, including 6 Masters students and 37 PhD students.

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