Lincoln Hub to play an important role in agricultural eco-system
Facilitating innovation in the agricultural sector is crucial if the industry is to meet the challenge of safeguarding New Zealand’s global competitiveness in the future.
That is the key principle behind Lincoln Hub, the innovation network, education and research precinct based at Lincoln, which unveils its new identity and gifted name today (September 8).
Sue Suckling, who has recently been appointed chairperson of Lincoln Hub, said the Hub is set to deliver value to the Canterbury region and New Zealand, as a specialist network and innovation cluster involving businesses, research and education developing cutting-edge agribusiness solutions.
Lincoln Hub’s proposition is strengthened by having a research university at its core, making education a key part of its focus, she said.
“We aim to facilitate sustainable solutions to agricultural problems and opportunities, through growing an innovation precinct at Lincoln and a global agricultural science network. This will enable the commercialisation of new ideas into products and services, while capitalising on New Zealand’s world-leading reputation in agriculture.
“Lincoln Hub has grown from the idea that to meet the challenges of the future, the agricultural sector will need to innovate and create new ways of doing things.”
The board of Lincoln Hub has formalised the entity’s purpose, which is to be a gateway for business and an industry-led organisation driving agricultural solutions, education and collaborations that create value – both tangible and intangible.
It will connect organisations to address the need for sustainable agribusiness solutions through collaborations, partnerships, technology and testing environments, adding value to producers, businesses and scientific expertise, while providing unique education opportunities, Ms Suckling said.
“Over the coming couple of years the Lincoln precinct will grow to a huge concentration of 900-plus agricultural scientists– representing a very significant resource.”
The hub will work and collaborate with other similar entities around New Zealand including Te Hono Movement, Callaghan Innovation, Food HQ and other innovation parks around New Zealand. These connections will give Lincoln Hub a place in not only New Zealand’s “agri ecosystem” but also connections internationally.
Lincoln Hub, which has five founding shareholders – Lincoln University, AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research and DairyNZ – has engaged actively with local rūnanga Te Taumutu, which has gifted the name He Puna Karikari.
The name is a metaphor for exploration, cultivation and leadership in land, water and natural resources. The word ‘puna’ is used in the extended sense of a spring of knowledge, a flow of knowledge, and a point of origin. Karikari means to dig, to cultivate – and reflects the fruit of that labour.
Lincoln Hub is in discussions with several international businesses interested in potential research collaborations and educational opportunities, said Ms Suckling.
“We expect such partnerships to directly benefit Canterbury and New Zealand. This will come about through Lincoln Hub assisting organisations to find the best team to develop and commercialise science and research innovations for the benefit of the agricultural sector, improving productivity and competitiveness,” said Ms Suckling.
In developing Lincoln Hub’s purpose, the board took inspiration from successful examples of innovation clusters overseas including Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands and Norwich Research Park in the United Kingdom.
“Overseas examples have shown that when you bring industry, research and education together, it creates an ideal environment for innovation. We’re creating an ecosystem at Lincoln that will draw on international best practice and help increase New Zealand’s global profile as a leader in agribusiness innovation,” Ms Suckling said.