Renewal of Government funding for the Lincoln University based Bio-Protection Research Centre has delighted its Director, Professor Alison Stewart.
The centre will receive indicative funding totalling almost $24 million for the six-year period 2009-2015.
The facility, one of seven New Zealand Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs), and the only one in the South Island, has existing funding of $3.7 million for the operational period 2008-2009.
Results of the new funding application round that will finance the CoREs through to 2015 were announced today (5 June) by the Tertiary Education Minister Dr Michael Cullen.
“We are absolutely delighted,” says Professor Stewart. “We see the renewal of funding and the increase as a validation of all our work and efforts since the CoRE was established.”
The Lincoln University-based CoRE, launched in February 2003, is a collaboration of four partner institutions - Lincoln University, Massey University, AgResearch and Crop and Food Research and 13 other research and academic institutes. Its work is conducted under four “themes” – bio-security; biocontrol; agri-biotechnology and Matauranga Māori Bio-Protection.
The Centre benchmarks itself against international capability and is at the forefront of global developments in bio-protection. It has strong links with Biosecurity New Zealand, the Government body which oversees this country’s biosecurity activity and the protection of New Zealand’s economic, social and natural environments from exotic biological threats.
A central facility at the Lincoln University-based CoRE is the Biotron, an enclosed environment laboratory with plant growth chambers which can be controlled to simulate a variety of external growing conditions.
The new funding will assist with the installation of further growth chambers in the Biotron and will also help upgrade existing molecular research facilities.
Lincoln University’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr Chris Kirk, describes the Government’s announcement of renewed funding as a “full endorsement that Lincoln University has demonstrated the intellectual and organisational maturity to host a research centre that is absolutely pivotal to New Zealand’s bio-based economy.”
“Bio-protection is an area of great strategic importance to New Zealand,” he says. “It is new knowledge and the development of new technologies that will be the basis of New Zealand’s future bio-protection capability.
“This demonstration of on-going Government confidence in Lincoln University and the partners it works with in the CoRE is a huge compliment to the Centre’s Board of Management, its Director, Executive Management Group, Theme Leaders, investigators and all the scientists, technical staff, administrators and postgraduate students associated with the Centre. They have worked tremendously hard to achieve this result,” says Dr Kirk.
The fund that finances New Zealand’s seven Centres of Research Excellence was set up by the Government in 2001 and is administered through the Ministry of Education. The fund’s aim is to encourage the development of excellent and strategically focused research and to encourage the tertiary education sector to develop and strengthen research with other research organisations, enterprises and the communities they serve.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Dr Chris Kirk, Acting Vice-Chancellor, Lincoln University
Tel: +64 3 325 2811 ext 7878. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professor Alison Stewart, Director, Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University
Tel: +64 3 325 2811 ext 8196. Email: email@example.com
Ian Collins, Communications Group, Lincoln University
Tel: +64 3 325 2811 ext 8549. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org