Boosting the Waikato's economic development and co-operation on freshwater management issues are the initial focus of a revised Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between two key regional organisations.
The University of Waikato and the Waikato Regional Council signed the agreement tonight. It outlines how the two organisations will strategically work together on issues of interest to the region.
The University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley says the agreement was revised following the change in leadership within both organisations over the last 18 months. The new MoU is more focussed than in the past and specifically draws on each organisation's expertise.
Two key research areas
The first two areas of focus will be fresh water science and management, and regional economic development, he said.
"Our researchers are world leaders in these areas and they are also at the heart of the regional council's work. We look forward to sharing and learning with our regional council colleagues and engaging in research which has real benefits for the entire region."
"Working with regional bodies is important to the University and we welcome opportunities such as this."
A future-oriented plan
The MoU sets out five year plans for both focus areas, with areas for possible future collaboration identified as support for the Waikato AgriHub and researching opportunities and challenges for the region.
The regional council's chairperson Paula Southgate said: "The revised MoU clearly reflects a move from a more science-based agreement to one where we're working together more strategically on things like freshwater management and regional development. Both these are crucial for the future health of our region.
"Like the university, we have many staff who are leaders in their fields. By working together even more closely under this revised MoU we will more effectively link up to combine our expertise for the benefit of the region.
"Partnerships like this, along with initiatives such as the Waikato Mayoral Forum's workstreams to lift regional performance and co-operation with iwi and others over river management, are an essential part of the work we do. No one organisation has all the answers and we need to work together to deliver the best way forward for our region."