Welcome to the winter edition of The Innovator, I trust you find it an interesting and enjoyable read.
I was fortunate enough to visit Israel recently to engage with the agricultural technology sector. It is a really vibrant ecosystem where the public research and development sector is closely engaged with corporates, small to medium enterprises (SME) and start-ups. While Israel is renowned for innovation and certainly there are many examples of brilliant technology, especially in irrigation, what struck me is that it is not the technology but the attitude and approach that sets Israel apart. Collaboration and acceptance of ‘failure’ (better to try and learn from the mistakes than be risk averse) is part of the mindset and the market for the technology is always considered in a global context. I believe we can learn much from the approach and we are in discussion around several potential collaborations.
Graham Centre members have been successful recently in receiving funding for several large initiatives. Of particular mention is the Rural R&D for Profit project ‘Dung Beetle ecosystem engineers’ which we will lead. It is the largest project funded through the program. Congratulations to the team, especially Professors Leslie Weston and Geoff Gurr who led its development.
Finally, John Mawson has announced he will be leaving us to take up a position with Plant and Food NZ. John was our first Chairman of the Board and has made an enormous contribution to the Graham Centre and the University more generally. We thank John for his contribution and wish him well in his future role and look forward to continuing to collaborate with him.
Professor Michael Friend