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Cawthron Institute takes exciting step forward


Cawthron Institute international collaboration takes exciting step forward with algae MOU signing in Japan

Cawthron Institute’s world-leading international algae research collaborations took a significant step forward with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at an event in Tokyo hosted by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on 20 September.

The MOU between Cawthron and Hirojiren (a Hiroshima-based formal collaboration between the automotive industry, academia, and government) formalises Mazda’s commitment to building an R&D partnership focused on microalgae renewable energy including biofuels.

“The MOU provides an exciting platform to develop our existing work in the algae space,” says Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Prof. Charles Eason. “We are very pleased to see the connections between Cawthron and Hirojiren strengthening and this is the latest step forward for our collaborative relationship. We’re grateful for the work that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Innovative Partnerships Team has done in helping us to develop our partnership with Hirojiren.”

Prof. Eason says that Cawthron’s algae research is showing very significant potential as an area for commercial development and its MOU with Hirojiren signifies the extent to which such international collaborations are progressing.

“The commercial application of algae science is a very promising area for Cawthron and for New Zealand, and it is an area of science that is growing quickly and dynamically. We are well placed for this, and have the expertise to make an impact internationally utilising our world-leading algae science.

“The National Algae Research Centre which we are establishing here in Nelson with funding support from the government’s Provincial Growth Fund will also contribute greatly to algae science capability and help provide the knowledge needed to fuel international collaborations such as that with Hirojiren.”

Cawthron Institute Aquaculture General Manager Dr Serean Adams says she is very pleased that Hirojiren sees a strong alignment between its objectives and Cawthron’s capability.

“We are honoured that Hirojiren representatives have already taken the opportunity to visit Cawthron to see our work first hand and that we also had the opportunity to make a presentation about our algae research at a symposium in Hiroshima, Japan last month on the theme of next generation liquid fuel.

“It’s fantastic to see the relationship being further developed as a result of the MOU signing. We take this as an indication that Hirojiren sees us as a high-quality partner with the right capability that understands its vision. Like Hirojiren, our focus is utilising algae science to provide real, sustainable solutions.”

Dr Adams, along with Chair of the Cawthron Institute Board of Directors, Meg Matthews, attended the MOU signing in Japan.



Megan Kitchener, Communications Manager
Cawthron Institute
Mobile: 027 339 9209


Cawthron Institute is New Zealand's largest independent science organisation, offering a broad spectrum of services to help protect the environment and support sustainable development of primary industries. Based in Nelson, New Zealand, Cawthron works with regional councils, government departments, major industries, private companies, and other research organisations throughout New Zealand and around the world. Cawthron is a diverse organisation employing more than 250 scientists, laboratory technicians, researchers and specialist staff from 26 countries.

Cawthron’s scientists have expertise in aquaculture research, marine and freshwater resource management, food safety and quality, algal technologies, biosecurity and analytical testing. Its ground-breaking science is supported by substantial testing and research laboratories, state-of-the-art technology and a purpose-built aquaculture park. The Cawthron Aquaculture Park also houses a recently-opened Finfish Research Centre designed to deliver commercially-relevant science to enable improved stock management and husbandry and support the development and growth of the finfish aquaculture industry.

Cawthron’s future developments include its upcoming National Algae Research Centre which will enable Cawthron to expand its internationally-recognised work in the rapidly growing algae sector and create value for existing and future partners. Cawthron has more than 30 years of expertise in algae research, from microscopic level through to the impact of algae in our marine ecosystems, and is one of only a few organisations worldwide to specialise in extracting high-value bioactive compounds from algae. Construction of the Centre is scheduled to begin by October 2020.

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