Tech week – New Zealand’s festival of technology and innovation – kicked off in Tauranga last night with the opening of a brand new aquaculture and horticulture collaboration, University of Waikato’s Blue/Green Tech Lab.
The lab is the region’s first university Research and Development lab focussed wholly on engineering and technology for the primary industries sector. It’s a space for university staff and students to grow capability in Tauranga across cutting edge technology to meet real needs.
University of Waikato Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alister Jones said the opening of the lab was just the beginning.
“This is about collaboration, doing things differently. It's connecting with local business and driving economic and educational outcomes for this region. So I'm absolutely delighted at what's been achieved,” Alister said.
“This is not just about some of the innovative things we do to help the horticulture space. It also shows what a pathway for employment looks like for our graduates. So when they come to the Tauranga campus, they know that no matter if they're doing management, computer science, engineering or science as a pathway to employment opportunities here in the wider Bay. That's what we're trying to achieve.”
University of Waikato staff and students will work on projects with and for local companies involving automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and biotechnology applied to horticulture and marine sectors and environments. It will also provide a space for engaging with future students and the local community, and reinforces our commitment to growing investment and activity in support of community and industry in the region.
“Blue/Green represents the way we can take research in the marine environment and in the horticulture environment and build synergies between those two to create a better kind of environment, better economic growth,” Alister said. “This is actually about collaboration.”
The Blue/Green theme incorporates both the primary focus of the Lab – horticulture and aquaculture – and the relationships between these industries. Tauranga Moana is a place where land meets sea; the interdisciplinary research and development work in the lab reflects this, and from this distinctive focus we see the opportunity, with collaborators, to grow a globally competitive technology capability to support local industry.
The lab is centrally located in Newton Street in Mount Maunganui and combines the CBD campus and specialised facilities the Coastal Marine Field Station at Sulphur Point and Adams Centre for High Performance Sport.