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Merger Creates New Research Institute

Science to focus on horticulture, arable and seafood research.

New Zealand’s newest Crown Research Institute has opened for business, combining the nation’s leading horticulture, arable and seafood research in a single, focused organisation.

The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited (which will trade as Plant & Food Research) has been formed through the merger of existing CRIs HortResearch and Crop & Food Research. The merged organisation has over 900 staff based at sites throughout New Zealand as well as science and business development staff working in the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia. Annual revenues for the new company are expected to be in the region of $120 million.

The merger follows a move by the Boards of both CRIs to bring their organisations together and provide greater depth of capability in nationally significant areas of research including sustainable production, elite genetics and smart breeding, and food and health science.

Plant & Food Research Chief Executive Peter Landon-Lane, formerly General Manager of Fonterra Europe, said the new company would make a key contribution to New Zealand science and to research-based innovation in the primary and food sectors.

“This will be a company with science at its heart. That is vital for New Zealand’s economic growth. At a time of global fiscal concern it is essential that we retain our competitive edge by continuing to innovate and add value.”

“The industries our science underpins: horticulture, arable farming, seafood and the wider food sector, have set themselves tough goals for growth and value enhancement. They expect Plant & Food Research to deliver science that helps them achieve those targets.”

Mr Landon-Lane said Plant & Food Research had a clear strategy to align its science with industry needs.

“We’ve formed this new company to generate knowledge and intellectual property that promotes the sustainable and efficient use of primary plant and seafood-based resources to create value for New Zealand.

“We’ll be focusing our science on areas such as new, elite cultivar development for the fruit, vegetable and arable sectors, environmentally and economically sustainable production systems for food crops, as well as the application of primary-sector derived ingredients in new and novel functional foods – particularly those foods that offer benefits to human health and wellbeing.”

“Our top scientists have already come together to discuss how they can work together in a new organisation and there is considerable enthusiasm for the benefits a merger will bring to our science.”

Both HortResearch and Crop & Food Research had strong international reputations for their science quality and the merged company is expected to develop expanded business and science collaborations in offshore markets.

“Science has always been a global endeavour and our people are very well connected internationally. We’re looking to build on those connections to ensure we can capture the best global science for New Zealand. In addition to that, we’ll be taking science offshore in support of our industry partners and continuing to build worldwide commercial partnerships that create revenue for further investment in our science.”

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