A partnership between AgResearch and Massey University focusing on dairy and red meat research will see construction of a state-of-the-art $39 million facility on the University’s Manawatū campus over the next two years.

The Food Science Facility will be built alongside the existing Food Pilot Plant, part of the University’s College of Health, and become a vital new cog in the FoodHQ partnership that AgResearch and Massey share with a range of other entities in the central and lower North Island.

It will be the base for about 140 staff and students, about 90 of them from AgResearch. In addition to research, it will have a strong educational component and will house and train undergraduate and postgraduate students from the University.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce visited the campus today as part of a series of economic development announcements in the Manawatū-Whanganui region. AgResearch chief executive Dr Tom Richardson and Massey vice-chancellor Steve Maharey outlined thinking behind the development.

Guests at the presentation included Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith, Manawatu District Mayor Margaret Kouvelis, Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway, representative from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and staff of both AgResearch and Massey.

The facility will house food and bio-based science teams from AgResearch (dairy foods, food nutrition and health, and part of food assurance and meat quality), and staff and students from Massey University’s Institute of Food Science and Technology and staff of the Riddet Institute, a research centre hosted by Massey.

The project is at the concept design stage with construction due to start next August and be completed by the end of the following year.

Mr Maharey said that for Massey this is a fantastic development. “We know that it won’t be just some buildings, but a world-class super campus with thousands of people getting up each day to drive our dream of what we can do with food. To conduct world-class science you have to have world-class facilities.”

Dr Richardson said the centre is part of a larger body of work called the Future Footprint Programme. “It will be the epicentre of science for FoodHQ.”

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