News came in last week that Government has given approval in principle to provide up to $107.5 million in capital funding towards the rebuilding of Lincoln University’s science facilities, which suffered significant damage in the Canterbury earthquakes, has been welcomed by the university and by the Lincoln Hub partners.
The university is focused on growing its undergraduate enrolments and the rebuild of its key facilities is the next state in returning it to sustainable operations, says tertiary education, skills and employment minister, Steven Joyce.
“The Government funding of up to 107.5 million is almost a third of the projected cost of the total campus rebuild of $349 million. It reflects the Government’s focus on the rebuild of Canterbury, our support for Lincoln University as it recovers from the earthquakes and our commitment to using science and technology to increase export earnings from the agricultural sector,” says Joyce.
“Every one percent increase in primary sector productivity generates an additional $4 billion in exports for New Zealand. The agricultural sector is a powerhouse of the New Zealand economy and the Lincoln Hub will bring together some of the best minds working in the sector today to help lift innovation productivity in the sector.”
The Government funding is contingent on the university fully integrating its new facilities with the other major partners in the new Lincoln Hub: AgResearch, Plant & Food Research, Landcare Research and Dairy NZ
The University has welcomed the investment as it will now be able to move forward with delivering the kind of science and technology that contributes so significantly to the New Zealand economy.
“With 70 percent of New Zealand’s merchandise exports comprising of food and fibre products, this investment is not just good for Lincoln itself, it also means the University can contribute to the Government’s own Business Growth Agenda,” says a spokesperson.
Lincoln Hub chair Graham Stuart says this is a crucial step in the creation of the Hub, “which will be a world class agricultural research facility where university, crown research agencies and the private sector will be collaborating to achieve great outcomes for New Zealand.”
An initial payment of $7.5 million will be made by Government to Lincoln University by the end of July this year, with up to an additional $100 million paid in instalments throughout the project. Construction is expected to start in the second half of 2015, with completion scheduled for 2018/19.
The Lincoln Hub venture aims to deliver science, technology transfer and capacility more effectively and efficiently to the New Zealand farming sector. It will see around 900 scientists and industry specialists working together, linking primary sector research and industry, bringing new ideas to market and generating new export opportunities.
According to the Minister, it will be an incubator for research, innovation and wealth creation with one of the highest concentrations of agricultural and environmental scientists in the Southern Hemisphere.