The University of Otago is likely to gain ''significant
resources'' for research after being named in an alliance to
tackle the first of the Government's multimillion-dollar
This challenge involves delivering cutting-edge research to
help New Zealand companies take advantage of global demand
for foods with health benefits.
The Government announced yesterday that Otago would team up
in an Auckland University-administered alliance, which also
included Massey University and Crown Research Institutes
AgResearch and Plant and Food Research, to tackle the
national food-related challenge.
This 10-year challenge has been approved with $30.6 million
in funding, subject to finalisation of contract conditions.
A review after five years will mean another $53.2 million
becomes available for a second five-year period.
Total funding for the ''high-value nutrition challenge'' was
up to $180.8 million over 10 years.
Otago deputy vice-chancellor, research and enterprise, Prof
Richard Blaikie, yesterday welcomed Otago University's
''keystone role'' in meeting the challenge.
The university was ''delighted'' the Government had embraced
this ''collegial approach'' to research and Otago was
''determined to do our best to ensure this works'', he said.
Being part of the new challenge would allow Otago researchers
to apply their world-class expertise to shared goals and
research programmes, and bring in additional research income.
This benefited students, who would be ''exposed to
multidisciplinary research with real industry
Asked about Otago's likely funding share, Prof Blaikie noted
contractual details were yet to be finalised but main
participants in the partnership, including Otago, would gain
He noted the outcome of research applications involving two
more of the Government's major science challenges was likely
to be known in weeks.
These challenges involved , respectively, the ''deep south'',
and the influence of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean on
New Zealand's climate; and ''resilience to nature's
challenges'', including research into improving resilience to
Otago researchers were not only involved in bids involving
those two further challenges, but were also seeking a role in
helping to tackle seven other Government science challenges,
applications for which would close late this month, he said.