International partnership to treat cartilage disease

New Zealand and Korean research institutes are embarking on a three-year project to find viable treatment options for human and horse cartilage loss using the latest 3D bioprinting, stem cell and animal modelling techniques.

Scientists from Massey University and the University of Otago in New Zealand as well as Seoul National University, the Korean Institute of Science and Technology, Advanced Institutes of Convergence Technology and Kangstem Biotech in Korea are part of the newly-established strategic research partnership, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

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Drought support available online

When we think of the Heartland we conjure up images of the rough and ready can-do farmer striding across the high country. But the farmer of the Heartland is not confined to this image.

Farming in the Heartland is a technically challenging career. I am in constant awe of my fellow farmer, who every day must make complex decisions, dealing with the vagaries of weather, biology and the market. Like me, my grandfather also came to farming from medicine and for the rest of his life found incredible satisfaction in the scientific challenge farming brings.

The Heartland has contributed enormously to New Zealand and our development as a country. This month we commemorate 100 years since New Zealand’s recognised baptism of fire.

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High tech gadgets in line for awards

For the second consecutive year, Hamilton-based Dairy Automation Limited (DAL) has been named finalist in two categories of the New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards.

The subsidiary of farmer-owned co-operative LIC specialises in manufacturing sensor technology systems for the dairy shed, for real-time on-farm milk analysis.

Its CellSense system is a finalist for the Endace Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Product award, and its YieldSense system is up for the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Innovative Agritech Product award.

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MBIE invests $1.9m to grow Māori science & innovation

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will invest $1.9 million in 17 new programmes through the Te Pūnaha Hihiko – Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund.

The Fund aims to strengthen connections between Māori and the science and innovation system for the benefit of New Zealand. It invests in programmes that contribute to the development of skilled people and organisations undertaking research that support the four themes of the Vision Mātauranga policy.

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Boffins make light work of growing

Ultraviolet treatments for plants developed in New Zealand are to be trialled in the United States as the proprietary company looks for more investors.

Biolumic is a private start-up company at the Bio Commerce Centre, Palmerston North, based on a decade of research by applied plant physiologist Dr Jason Wargent, a Massey University researcher, senior horticulture lecturer and world expert on the effect of UV light on plants.

Trained in the United Kingdom, he was attracted to NZ and his Massey work in 2009 by our UVB light profile, which has complex effects on plants.

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New cars all electric by 2030 – professor Tony Seba

What people want from transport is to get from A to B as quickly, safely and cheaply as possible.

For city-dwellers at least – and that is most of us these days – meeting that demand ought to be a service industry, with information processing at its heart.

Instead, the dominant business model has not really changed from the days of horses and buggies.

We buy complex pieces of engineering called cars, which then spend most of their economic lives stationary, doing nothing but take up space, tie up capital and depreciate.

And when they are fulfilling their intended purpose they consume fossil carbon and help cook the planet.

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Next-generation GMOs: Pink pineapples and purple tomatoes

Cancer-fighting pink pineapples, heart-healthy purple tomatoes and less fatty vegetable oils may someday be on U.S. grocery shelves alongside more traditional products.

These genetically engineered foods could receive government approval in the coming years, following the OK given recently given to apples that don’t brown and potatoes that don’t bruise.

The companies and scientists that have created these foods are hoping that American customers will be attracted to the health benefits and convenience and overlook any concerns about genetic engineering.

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Call for Participation Outbound FRIENZ Study Group Tour Food Innovation and Food Safety

The FRIENZ project will provide funding to assist selected New Zealand delegates to participate in a Study Group tour through Europe for approximately 10 days beginning 12 October 2015.  The task of the delegation is to promote opportunities for collaboration in research and innovation with New Zealand; strengthen existing relationships; and stimulate new collaboration with New Zealand research organisations and innovation partners.

The overall interdisciplinary theme of the tour is Food Innovation – particularly translational research towards developing new food and beverage products, and / or Food Safety.

Participants are expected to strengthen on-going relationships and collaboration with their New Zealand counterparts in the theme area.

Please pass this information on to colleagues in New Zealand who may be interested in applying.

The application process is administered by the FRIENZ Project and applications close at Noon Friday 25th April 2015.
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Lake weed may turn into biofuel

Invasive weeds choking the region’s waterways could be harvested and turned into valuable biofuel in an idea being floated by Waikato Regional Council.

The health of the river’s hydro-lakes has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months after the appearance of a red algal bloom this summer.

River users have also demanded action over the spread of weed including hornwort and the oxygen weed egeria densa, both of which can trap swimmers and snare boat propellers and clog engines.

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Biotech firm toasts fruity fatbuster

The ancient alchemists of yore spent their lives trying to turn worthless lead into gold. Marlborough-based biotech company New Zealand Extracts is pursuing the modern day equivalent – with considerably more success.

The company, which leases land from a winery, takes discarded fruit skins and seeds and transforms them into high-end health and beauty products.

After 10 years of research and production, and many millions of dollars, it’s on the verge of something big; specifically, the obesity epidemic.

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