Waikato University launched three new agricultural innovation initiatives at Fieldays, which included a dedicated agri-tech innovation manager, who will work with the university’s commercial unit, WaikatoLink, an agri-tech seed fund and an agri-tech entrepreneurial fellowship.

The Deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Alister Jones said that the new model of connected university focus, which is designed to encourage innovation will make it easier for industry to engage with the university. Professor Jones said that funding, which is usually between $15,000 and $20,000 for seed funding per project, will be allocated on a case by case basis.

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Lincoln University and St Peter’s School, Cambridge which announced plans to develop a demonstration dairy farm aiming to set the benchmark for farming practice in Waikato is seeking sponsors to fund demonstration and scientific monitoring activities, as well as two leading Waikato farmers to guide the farm focus area, and expects to be functional by the 2015/16 milking season. Lincoln University vice-chancellor, Andrew West said they are aiming for the farm to be in the top 3 percent of profitable farms and in the top 3 percent of environmental performers. Dr West said that a governance committee and a management committee will oversee the farm.