MOU signed with Lincoln University for potato research partnership

The board of Potatoes NZ Inc. (PNZ) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Lincoln University to launch a research partnership which includes a Centre of Excellence for Potato Research and Extension, based in Canterbury.

Lincoln University Associate Professor of Plant Science, Clive Kaiser, will be the establishment Director for the Centre of Excellence for Potato Research and Extension, and he says the new Centre will be extension-led and grower-centric.

He said he believes it will be a game changer for the potato industry.

The fundamental tenet of the concept of ‘extension’ is to extend the knowledge gained through research, typically conducted by universities and research centres, to growers in the field.

“The research conducted at the Centre will be focused on working with potato growers to identify and understand the problems confronting them and to devise solutions to those problems,” Associate Professor Kaiser said.

“The solutions will be developed through discovering new knowledge, as well as by using existing knowledge in new ways, and will be underpinned by strong local, national and international collaborations.

“This cooperative, collaborative research approach will have immediate, significant and long-lasting benefits for New Zealand growers.”

Before joining Lincoln University, Associate Professor Kaiser was Interim Director of the Hermiston Agricultural and Research Extension Center (HAREC) – a world-renowned research centre for potatoes – based at Oregon State University.

He and PNZ share a vision to establish a similar grower-centric, extension-led research capability at Lincoln, where the Centre’s researchers and collaborating partners will contribute to an open, collaborative network of New Zealand and international researchers focused on ensuring the growth and success of the New Zealand potato industry.

“Like HAREC, the Lincoln-based Centre of Excellence will be a grower-centric knowledge, expertise and research hub designed to support the potato industry and growers to address their grand challenges, as well as to help them identify market growth opportunities and successfully commercialise those opportunities.

“At present HAREC is the go-to global hub where potato growers from New Zealand and all over the world go for advice, education, problem-solving and inspiration. Now New Zealand growers and other potato industry participants will be able to find that support and practical assistance at the new Centre at Lincoln University,” said Associate Professor Kaiser.

The CEO of PNZ Chris Claridge says solving grower and industry problems is his organisation’s key purpose and the partnership will enable it to this more effectively.

The NZ Potato industry is valued at over $1 billion a year, with 175 growers across the country and multiple frozen chip and crisp processors.

Lincoln University Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Edwards says that in signing the MOU and partnering with PNZ to establish a Centre of Excellence in Potato Research and Extension based at our Lincoln campus,

“.. we will be contributing the University’s considerable expertise and resources to support the potato industry to drive future success and address its major challenges.

“Lincoln University is committed to building collaborative partnerships with industry and research providers to achieve innovative and sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most pressing land-based challenges, and this determination aligns completely with PNZ’s ambition to build a secure and sustainable future for Aotearoa’s potato growing industry.”

Source:  Lincoln University

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog