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"I’m excited and very, very grateful to have this opportunity," Dr Bunt said earlier this week.
New Zealand was already one of the world’s most efficient food producers but faced growing challenges, such as sustainability.
The programme gave students a chance to "make a difference" to the country’s agricultural future.
Dr Bunt, who is an associate professor in animal science at Lincoln University, has an undergraduate degree and a doctorate from Otago’s School of Pharmacy.
"I was a pharmaceutics student working on single-dose vaccines for animals, so right from the start I was an agriculture student."
He was just one example of how Otago had been involved in agriculture research for some time, he said. It was "fantastic" all that work now had a home in Ag@Otago research and the new programme which began in 2019.
Dr Bunt begins his post, in the food science department, in September. His research includes work on a "new sustainable biodegradable coating for agricultural products such as fertiliser and seeds".