Renewed funding for Riddet Institute

New Zealand’s premier centre for fundamental and strategic scientific research in food, the Riddet Institute hosted by Massey University, has been selected once again as a Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE).

Following a stringent selection process, four additional groups have been selected as CoREs, meaning they will each receive several million dollars of funding annually for the period from 2016-20. This brings the total number of centres to 10. Massey is a partner or host of seven of them.

The Riddet Institute was established in 2003 and focuses on four key aspects of science: food material science, novel food processing, human nutrition, and gastrointestinal biology. Their goal is to play a pivotal role in developing future foods that meet the nutritional needs of the world and at the same time boost the value of New Zealand’s food exports.

Massey Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says the decision reflects the outstanding leadership and talent of staff within the centre.

“The expertise of our scientists is wide ranging and world renowned,” Mr Maharey says. “The Riddet Institute has scientists who work across the spectrum. It is these people working at the interface between food science and nutrition that will allow us to meet the food challenges of the future.

“The fact that Massey is a partner in six of the remaining nine CoREs is testament to wide-ranging areas of expertise in which we collaborate across the areas of research excellence that matter most to New Zealand.”

Riddet co-directors Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan and Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh say they are delighted with the continued funding. They say the work of the institute is “vital for a highly innovative and viable food export sector and will allow for continuation of world class fundamental food science and research training”.

“The CoRE funding reflects the outstanding academic credentials and world class standing of the Riddet Institute team.”

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says CoREs provide a collaborative environment that foster innovative research. “The work of our 10 CoREs will deliver benefits to New Zealand across economic, environmental and social platforms that will make a difference to the lives of all New Zealanders.”

The Riddet Institute is a partnership between Massey University (the host), the University of Otago, The University of Auckland, AgResearch and Plant and Food Research.

CoREs have been operating in New Zealand since 2002 and received more than $434 million in funding from the Government.

The other three CoREs announced today are the Bio-Protection Research Centre hosted by Lincoln University, QuakeCore: Centre for earthquake resilience hosted by the University of Canterbury and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga hosted at the University of Auckland.

The six CoREs announced last year are the Maurice Wilkins Centre (hosted by the University of Auckland), the MacDiarmid Centre (Victoria University of Wellington), the Medical Technologies CoRE (Auckland), the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies (University of Otago), Te Punaha Matatini – the Centre for Complex Systems and Networks (University of Auckland), and Brain Research NZ (University of Otago and University of Auckland).

Leaving a Legacy

As part of his final role he oversaw cutting-edge, world-leading science undertaken at Fonterra as part of the Transforming the Dairy Value Chain Primary Growth Partnership between MPI and industry.

Mark Malone, Acting Director of Fonterra’s Research and Development Centre, said the work was a fitting culmination of Professor Munro’s outstanding career in academia and industry.

“Peter has inspired a new group of talented young researchers to do some excellent science but always keep an eye on the commercial outcomes and benefits for others,” he said.

“That is his legacy – how to turn science and great ideas into solutions, products and good commercial outcomes.”

Professor Munro took up his role as Fonterra Chair in Food Materials Science at Massey University in May 2011. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of New Zealand and New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology and was awarded the Danisco International Dairy Science Award in 2005.

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