Friday, July 8, 2022

AgResearch plans its future footprint

The country’s largest Crown Research Institute, AgResearch, has released further details of its plans to reinvest $100 million into its campus facilities and resources.

AgResearch chief executive Dr Tom Richardson said the proposal is now with staff for consultation and involves a major reconfiguration and reinvestment of AgResearch’s campus and farm infrastructure.

“We will be modernising our science facilities, co-locating our capability wherever possible, and participating in large agriculture innovation hubs, all of which will generate greater returns across the pastoral sector.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to put AgResearch in the best possible long-term position to do more quality science more effectively and efficiently, and to make a much bigger difference to the agricultural sector’s productivity and profitability,” he said.

“We are proposing to have two large campuses, one in Grasslands in Palmerston North and one in Lincoln.”

Dr Tom Richardson

AgResearch chief executive

“We are proposing to have two large campuses, one in Grasslands in Palmerston North and one in Lincoln. Our Grasslands and Lincoln campuses will form part of much larger agriculture innovation hubs with key sector partners at those locations.

“Our science at Grasslands will focus on food, nutrition, animal health and forage. Lincoln will focus on farm systems and land use; as well as sheep, beef and deer productivity, supported by our “–omics platform” (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics).”

Richardson said having two large AgResearch campuses with a higher number of co-located teams and staff will see much more knowledge sharing and internal collaboration resulting in more quality science being delivered.

“We have also had strong support from our partners and stakeholders for our plans, and since the high-level proposal was announced in late April, many other organisations have contacted us to express interest in being involved in the innovation hubs,” he said.

Over the next three to four years, about 280 roles are proposed to relocate to Grasslands and Lincoln as facilities become available.

Richardson said AgResearch’s executive team is proposed to be based at Lincoln, along with the bulk of the support staff.

“We are proposing to co-locate our executives and our support team. We chose Lincoln over Palmerston North, on the grounds that Canterbury has a much larger population base for retention and recruitment purposes.”

The proposal is now with staff for a four week consultation period, with final decisions expected in September. 

The proposed size of each campus is: 

  • Grasslands: about 300 roles
  • Lincoln: about 330 roles
  • Invermay: about 30 roles
  • Ruakura: about 90 roles
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