Stronger collaboration between the three institutions offering wine and viticulture courses was forged this week. EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science, Otago Polytechnic and the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology have signed an agreement that will see them collaborate on research and student learning with two research organisations in Marlborough.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) brings together researchers, tutors and students from EIT, Otago Polytechnic, NMIT, the Bragato Research Institute, as well as the Marlborough Research Centre (MRC).
Sue Blackmore, Head of EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science, says the new MoU was close to being signed pre lockdown but the value brought by involving three subsidiaries of the new New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) was worth the wait. “This is a great step in terms of building collaboration with industry and research organisations and solidifying existing goodwill between the NZIST subsidiaries. The EIT School already has a number of research projects running in Hawke’s Bay with NZ Winegrowers and this MoU will further strengthen and grow the relationship with industry.”
Sue also highlights the benefits for EIT students, in particular for those who are studying towards the new Bachelor of Viticulture and Wine Science. “The students have to complete a compulsory research project in their third year and this new partnership will provide valuable opportunities for collaborative research and project supervision. We are also working on establishing a new scholarship for students conducting their research projects at the MRC.”
For MRC Chief Executive Gerald Hope the partnership agreement is another milestone towards improving collaboration for research and education in wine-making and viticulture, following on from the opening of the Bragato Research Winery in February. “This MOU paves the way for research collaboration between some of the country’s leading wine and viticulture tutors and their students and the top research scientists and technicians based at the MRC.”
The MRC will receive proposals for collaborative projects and leverage funding from industry and Government. The first projects emerging from the MoU could be in place later this year.