The University of Waikato has launched three key agri-tech innovation initiatives as part of a new approach designed to offer a step-change to the agriculture sector. Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford made the announcement to over 200 key agribusiness stakeholders, at an agri-sector event at the University on the eve of Fieldays.
The University will appoint a dedicated Agritech Innovation Manager to improve connectedness and engagement with the agri sector. An Agri-tech Seed Fund will also be launched to back new agri innovations, and an Agri-tech Entrepreneurial Fellowship will help build capability focussed on industry innovation.
Adding value to agriculture sector
Professor Alister Jones, Waikato University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor says, “Investing in these new agri-tech initiatives supports our strategy for a connected University focused on adding value to key sectors, such as agriculture. Our new model for engagement will make it easier for industry to engage with the University and is designed to encourage innovation.”
The Waikato hosts one of the largest concentrations of agribusiness, agritechnology and agriservice companies in the country says Professor Jones. “The University can contribute to the success of the agribusiness sector in New Zealand through research and development (R&D) and knowledge.”
Educational and research resources
The University of Waikato has as a formidable mix of educational and research resource, and expertise within the agri-tech, agri-business and agri-sustainability areas including high-tech systems, waste recycling, biochemistry analysis and renewable energy for industry clients.
WaikatoLink, the University’s commercial arm will play a key role with the Agri-tech Seed fund.
The new agri-tech specific fund will help kick-start a wide range of new innovations. The work we’re already doing to diagnose and solve global problems in animal health, robotics and remote sensing are good examples,” says Duncan Mackintosh, Chief Executive of WaikatoLink.
Waikato Agricultural Hub
Plans for the Waikato Agricultural Hub, a co-operation between nine institutions, were also unveiled last night. The Hub will act as a platform for attracting investment to the region and delivering innovation, productivity and sustainability across the agri-sector.Professor Jones says, “Waikato is taking up the challenge to double our primary industry sector by 2025 to ensure New Zealand remains competitive in the global market. The University’s new strategies and initiatives to foster innovation in agri-tech will ensure we can make an important contribution to industry to help achieve those goals.”