The University of Otago remains in discussions with
AgResearch over its plan to slash jobs at Invermay and hopes to
''influence'' its restructuring plans.
This comes after a report AgResearch largely ignored its own
change management team (CMT), which cited the strength of
Invermay's relationship with University of Otago as a reason
why animal productivity scientists should be based in Dunedin
''Invermay was seen as the best campus to realise this due to
the strong current and future stakeholder collaborations and
the current and future links with Otago University,
especially in genomics,'' the leaked CMT report said.
Deputy vice-chancellor research and enterprise Prof Richard
Blaikie said it was ''concerned about the loss of
capability'' in the region and was continuing to discuss the
matter in an effort to influence the organisation's plans.
''[We] hope to influence their `future footprint' plans to
... continue to include strong activities at Invermay,'' Prof
He was unwilling to be ''specific'' about what was being
talked about with AgResearch, but said discussions had been
''Suffice to say that we have got an active and ongoing
dialogue with them about these matters and ... we are showing
a strong interest in maintaining a strong regional
''It's very important for us and we feel it's very important
for AgResearch and we feel it's very important in the
national interest as well,'' he said.
It was ''pleasing'' to see the CMT report recognise the
importance of University of Otago scientists and cite that as
a major reason to keep jobs at Invermay.
''We are clearly, like others, surprised that there was an
internal recommendation to maintain strong capability and
animal sciences here [and] that a decision is made to stick
to the future footprint plan.''
''However, we recognise they are an autonomous organisation
and they need to set their own path.''
Asked about the suggestion AgResearch's research could be
compromised by increasing the distance between its scientists
and the university he said: ''We need to work through ...
that with them, but we will do that in discussion with
AgResearch, not through public debate.''
The university would continue to collaborate with AgResearch
AgResearch acting chief executive Andrew McSweeney, in a
statement yesterday, said AgResearch would be ''engaging with
many external stakeholders over the coming weeks and months,
including the University of Otago''.
''As we have said, these discussions will be around how we
can continue to work together and our plans will continue to
evolve as a result of those discussions right up to 2016.