Awarded research grants

by Mike Isle

Lincoln Agritech has been awarded two major research grants in this year’s highly contested Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) funding round. The grants total $11 million.

One research programme aims to help manage freshwater pollution, and the other to assist medical professionals to diagnose bone and tissue damage using hand-held non-contact technology.

Lincoln scientists, Drs Roland Stenger and Blair Miller and their research team, have been awarded $7.8 million for their programme to help upgrade freshwater management.

“To better manage freshwater pollution, we need to find out more about how nitrogen travels from land to waterways. We have to understand how quickly nitrogen travels and how much of it is naturally removed as it moves through the soil into a surface waterway,” Dr Miller said.

“The programme will deliver methods and tools for characterising and quantifying transfer pathways at sub-catchment level to establishing the link between land use and its effects on freshwater quality.”

Dr Miller said the programme aims to help farmers, iwi, industry and councils achieve community-mandated water quality goals. The second Lincoln Agritech research to receive a grant is a $6 million programme to develop a handheld medical scanner that provides high-resolution images of bone and tissue.

The programme is led by Professor Ian Woodhead and Dr Ian Platt.

Professor Woodhead said the scanner’s simplicity, cost-effectiveness and portability will differentiate it from currently available imaging equipment and could be used in ambulances and medical facilities.

Royal NZ College of General Practitioners chair, Dr Keri Ratima, said: “[The scanner] is expected to provide real value to rural communities, including Maori, and others struggling to access services.”

Lincoln Agritech chief executive, Peter Barrowclough, expressed delight at the grants and paid tribute to what he described as a highly talented team of Agritech scientists and research engineers.