NEW ZEALAND - Cawthron Institute builds new $5m high-tech laboratories

Cawthron Institute has begun construction of new $5 million high technology laboratories on its Halifax Street site in Nelson
December 5, 2012

Cawthron Institute has begun construction of new $5 million high technology laboratories on its Halifax Street site in Nelson.

Cawthron Institute is New Zealand’s largest independent scientific research organization, offering a broad spectrum of services to help protect the environment and support development within the primary industries. It has substantial testing laboratories and a purpose built aquaculture park as well as unique expertise in aquaculture production, coastal and freshwater resource management, food safety and quality, algal technologies, biosecurity and analytical testing services.

The new $5 million facility on its Halifax Street site will provide nearly 400 square metres of high specification laboratory space, to replace some of its present facilities built in the 1970s. In addition to laboratories the building will also include office space, meeting rooms and staff facilities.

Cawthron Chairman Ian Kearney, says the new building is a key part of Cawthron’s drive and focus on continuing innovation in scientific research and development.

“A lot of New Zealand’s economic growth and future direction is reliant on innovative science and original thinking which Cawthron Institute is renowned for. This building is stage one of a four stage project to replace the facilities and laboratories in the Rigg building on the Halifax Street campus. Many of the facilities in the Rigg building are outdated and an orderly programme to replace them is now starting.”

Cawthron is now setting the stage to build on its contributions to New Zealand’s economic development of the past 90 years. Earlier this year Cawthron sold its environmental testing business to R. J. Hill Laboratories to refocus on high-value research and development and the new building underpins this strategy. Cawthron is also expanding specialist analytical services in challenging areas of new method development and health claim validations for foods and nutraceuticals.

Cawthron Chief Executive Professor Charles Eason, said Cawthron works hand in hand with many companies and the new building will provide the means to further strengthen its support of the aquaculture and food industries with its research in shellfish food safety, adding high-end value to foods as well as protection.

“The companies we work with are asking us to increase our capacity and our capabilities to help them deliver export growth. The new buildings and laboratories in Nelson will be a significant step forward for us.”

The beginning of the construction of the new laboratory building was formally marked by Prime Minister John Key during his visit to Cawthron Institute in November. During his visit Mr. Key unveiled a sign, viewed plans for the new building and met with key researchers. He also gave a speech to staff, management and directors around the significance of high-value scientific research and development to the economy, aquaculture in particular, and the positive contribution Cawthron is making in the area.

During his speech, Mr Key spoke highly of the staff at Cawthron saying he was “highly supportive” of the facilty and their “world class research”. He said Cawthron had some of the best scientists conducting cutting edge research that was hugely beneficial to New Zealand’s primary industries. 


Photo: The Rt Hon John Key, Prime Minister visited Cawthron Institute to view plans for the new $5 million high-technology laboratories and looked at the science behind the organization.