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Invermay's legacy was ''huge'', Neville Jopson, managing director of Dunedin-based consultancy and new venture development company AbacusBio, said yesterday.
AgResearch announced yesterday 85 jobs would go from Invermay, near Mosgiel, by 2016 as the group centralised on Lincoln and Palmerston North. About 30 jobs would remain at Invermay, and the focus would shift to specific environmental and farm systems' regional needs.
Dr Jopson worked as a scientist at Invermay for nine years in two stints. There was a huge amount of work done at the research centre, all of which was very high quality, he said.
In particular, he recalled the ''massive'' amount of work around establishing the deer industry in New Zealand at Invermay. He also cited the work around reproduction and fertility in sheep.
While not aware of all the details of AgResearch's restructuring, Dr Jopson said it would be a move away from the ''heartland'' where a large number of sheep and beef animals were farmed.
He had ''very fond memories'' of the research centre and was ''sad to see it go''.
''It was a special campus as far as I'm concerned,'' he said.
The Public Service Association said the massive scale of the reorganisation took staff by surprise and would force many into a difficult position.
PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said staff had heard rumblings about the reorganisation but were not prepared for its enormity or the decisions it would force so many to make.
''The reality is many people won't want to move. These are specialised science roles and options are limited. There is a risk that this reorganisation could result in a significant loss of specialist knowledge and skills from the system.''
While the changes were planned over several years there would be a long period of uncertainty, Mr Wagstaff said.