AgResearch intends to form a joint international research centre with China’s largest state–owned food company and largest university research department specialising in food science and nutrition.

AgResearch is a New Zealand Crown Research Institute, partnering with the pastoral sector to identify and deliver the innovation that is needed to create value for New Zealand. It has staff spread across four campuses and farms in the Waikato, Manawatu, Canterbury and Otago.

A Collaboration Arrangement was signed earlier this month in Beijing with the Nutrition and Health Research Institute (NHRI) within the China Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO), and with the College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering (CFSNE) of China Agriculture University (CAU).

The parties will explore opportunities to work together formally in the name of a “Joint International Research Centre for Food Science’ to promote international exchange, research and productivity, with a particular focus on further enhancing a China/New Zealand relationship”.

The arrangement states: “The overall goal of the collaboration is to initiate activities that are of mutual benefit to the parties in terms of knowledge development, scientific and technological innovation and economic benefit”.

AgResearch chief executive Tom Richardson says the relationship with such influential institutions – from the world’s most populous country with a rapidly expanding middle class – opens up a host of opportunities for AgResearch, and agriculture and agribusiness in New Zealand.

“We are fortunate to have world-class scientists in New Zealand. Being able to reach out and work with some of the best scientists elsewhere in the world bolsters what we are doing, and what we can offer to enhance industry here.”

“Some of the key research areas where AgResearch expects to work closely with COFCO and CAU are food science, processing, food assurance and safety, and human nutrition.”

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