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New science investment recognises unique expertise

media release


28 August 2013

New science investment recognises Cawthron’s unique expertise

The importance of Cawthron Institute’s seafood safety and shellfish research has been recognised in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) 2013 science investment round, announced by Minister of Science and Innovation Steven Joyce today.

The new funding round includes significant investment in Cawthron’s shellfish and coastal marine research that is supporting sustainable development of primary industries.

“This is a fantastic result for our scientists,” Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Professor Charles Eason says. “It is great that our nationally-unique expertise in the areas of algal ecology, marine and freshwater ecology, biosecurity and natural compound chemistry, has been recognised.”

Cawthron Institute Chairman Ian Kearney is thrilled with today’s announcement, saying it acknowledges the important role Cawthron plays in supporting New Zealand’s economic development.

“This research investment round is possibly the most significant in Cawthron’s 90 year history,” Mr Kearney says. “Clearly there is a desire for more sustainable use and better protection of our coastal marine resources, and we are ready to support that.”

“It is also hugely important to the regional economy,” Mr Kearney says. “Cawthron is one of the region’s largest employers and in particular offers local employment opportunities for highly qualified scientists. This research funding ensures that we can continue to provide these employment opportunities.”

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Professor Eason says the result is also positive news for Cawthron’s many industry partners and will help in strengthening its extensive domestic and international research collaborations.

“Cawthron’s research has always been outcome-focused and this new investment enables us to continue to support and safeguard primary industries through our seafood safety, aquaculture and environmental monitoring programmes,” Professor Eason says.

“It provides certainty for us and our industry and research partners, allowing us to continue pooling our resources and knowledge so we can further support the sustainable growth of New Zealand’s leading export sectors.”

In total, Cawthron and its research partners will share approximately $7.4 million per annum from four programmes submitted to MBIE for funding consideration early this year. Two of these, the Safe New Zealand Seafood and Cultured Shellfish programmes, secured capability funding over seven years. This new type of long-term funding supports nationally significant capabilities.

Approved projects include further work on the selective breeding of shellfish for which Cawthron has established an international reputation.

“We are exploring several new varieties as well as expanding on our present programmes,” Professor Eason says.

The Cawthron-led, national seafood safety programme is also recognised.

“Recent experiences have demonstrated the importance of food safety with exports and Cawthron has a major role in certifying the safety of many of our seafood exports” he says.

The two other successful programmes look at the potential for algae and shellfish to provide healthy food ingredients, and new opportunities for advancing the scampi industry. “We see great potential for New Zealand in these areas” Professor Eason says.

“This research funding allows us to build on our expertise in these areas and provides greater certainty to plan for the future.”

Click here to read the full investment round results.


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