New Fonterra Chair in Food Materials Science

Dairy Co-operative Fonterra and national centre of research excellence the Riddet Institute today announced the establishment of a new Massey University Fonterra Chair in Food Material Science.

Eminent food scientist Dr Peter Munro FRSNZ, a 17-year veteran at the Fonterra Research Centre (and its predecessor the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute), is the first appointment to the new Chair. This appointment heralds Dr Munro’s return to the university world having previously been a Massey University Professor of Food Engineering and Head of Department.

Dr Jeremy Hill, Chief Technology Officer at Fonterra said Dr Munro had an outstanding track record. The teams he has led have developed a range of milk protein concentrates, alternate make cheeses and other novel ingredients.

“Peter is ideally positioned to lead the ambitious work programme mapped out for this Chair in the quest for new and different physical and sensory performance for dairy foods,” Dr Hill said.

Professor Munro will be based at the Riddet Institute headquarters at Massey University, Palmerston North. Professor Munro will lead a research team of post-doctoral fellows and doctoral researchers based in various partner organisations of the Riddet Institute and its collaborators.

The Chair has been funded by Fonterra as part of the seven year, $73 million post-farmgate Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) announced in August last year which sees Fonterra join forces with the Government, DairyNZ and other industry players in a $170 million research programme set to drive new value in the dairy industry.

Professor Harjinder Singh, Co-Director of the Riddet Institute, said the Fonterra Chair in Food Materials Science was the first of three to be funded by the PGP partners, with further announcements about the other two Chairs and hosting arrangements planned for later this year.

“The appointment of Professor Peter Munro adds further lustre to our world-class capabilities in biomaterials science and digestive physiology. Under Peter’s leadership, the new Chair will apply food materials science to grow new applications for dairy and just as importantly, help develop the next generation of value-creating researchers for New Zealand,” Professor Singh said.

Steve Maharey, Vice-Chancellor of Massey University, which hosts the Riddet Institute CoRE, said that this key appointment underscores the institute’s leadership in food science and innovation and the value of the collaborative CoRE model to New Zealand’s industry.

Professor Munro takes up the new position in May this year.

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