Scion and the University of Waikato have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the two organisations working together in research and teaching and to enhance their contribution to the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions, iwi and New Zealand.
The agreement was signed at a function at Scion in Rotorua on 30 July attended by the university’s Chancellor Rt Hon Jim Bolger, Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford and Scion Chairperson Tony Nowell and Chief Executive Dr Warren Parker. The Crown Research Institute specialises in research, science and technology development for the forestry, wood product and wood-derived materials and other biomaterial sectors.
The agreement encompasses collaborative research programmes, commercialisation of research where possible, student projects and internships and the creation of executive education courses for the region and industry.
The MoU with Scion will be of benefit not only to the two parties, but also to the two regions, says Professor Crawford. “This relationship is an example to the rest of the country of how CRIs and universities can ultimately contribute to better economic, environmental, and social outcomes for their respective regions.
“We are already working together in areas such as identifying research topics for graduate students and developing executive education programmes that will meet industry and the region’s capability needs.”
Professor Crawford says the two organisations have already identified areas of mutual interest including building the Māori economy, resource use efficiency, engineering and application of a range of biotechnologies. “Scion has a long history in these areas to create wealth in the forest sector and we look forward to sharing our knowledge with them to assist the industry to reach its 2022 target of $12 billion export earnings for New Zealand.”
The agreement provides for shared facilities and a visible presence for Scion on the university’s Hamilton and/or Tauranga campus, and for the university on Scion’s Rotorua base, Te Papa Tipu Innovation Park.
Scion’s Dr Parker says because of the CRI’s focus across the forest industry’s value chain from healthy productive forests to low emission, renewable bio-energy, the agreement with the University of Waikato is a perfect match. “Research is the foundation of what we do and we are very pleased to have formed this strategic relationship with the University of Waikato as a regional initiative to foster and grow tertiary education and research in the areas that matter to us and to the whole country.”