OPINION: The politics of science or is it the science of politics that is driving research in New Zealand?
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will see the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) in Hawke’s Bay, Otago Polytechnic, and the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) collaborate on research and student learning with the Marlborough Research Centre (MRC) and the Marlborough-based Bragato Research Institute (BRI).
MRC Chief Executive Gerald Hope says the MOU is another milestone towards the development of the campus as the national centre for winemaking and viticulture, following on from the opening of the Bragato research winery in February. “This MOU paves the way for research collaboration between some of the country’s leading wine and viticulture tutors, their students, and the top research scientists and technicians based at BRI.”
The MRC currently has a co-funding application with the Provincial Growth Fund to progress the New Zealand Wine Centre to provide an integrated national facility for wine research, education, industry innovation and investment. NMIT’s Director Marlborough, Carole Crawford, said the collaborative arrangement sat well with, and paralleled, the establishment of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.
“This further strengthens the existing relationship between MRC, BRI and NMIT. Both Otago Polytechnic and EIT have long-standing relationships with NMIT, sharing education expertise in the field of grapes and wine, so this collaboration adds further strength for all parties.” The investment into the Budge Street campus would ensure sustainable, state-of-the-art, world-class facilities in Marlborough, “supporting our region and the New Zealand wine industry”, she says. “It’s an exciting time for our stakeholders.”
Sue Blackmore, Head of School, Viticulture and Wine Science at EIT, said the new MOU was close to being signed pre Covid-19 but the value brought by involving several composite parts of the newly emerging New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology was worth the wait. “This is a great step in terms of building collaboration and solidifying existing goodwill.
The MRC will receive proposals for collaborative projects and leverage funding from industry and Government. The first projects emerging from the MOU could be in place later this year.