PlantTech Research Institute

PlantTech Research Institute has funding of $8.425 million excluding GST. Below is the public statement from our contract with PlantTech Research Institute.

PlantTech Research Institute Ltd. is a new industry-led research organisation based in the Western Bay of Plenty, focussed on technology and innovation in premium, plant-based value chains. PlantTech will leverage the Western Bay of Plenty’s regional strengths in horticulture, to create a unique applied research capability that will accelerate regional and national innovation for knowledge-intensive companies. PlantTech’s founders include eight companies (Bluelab, Cucumber, GPS-It, Eurofins, Plus Group Horticulture, Trimax Mowing Systems, Waka Digital and Zespri International) alongside the University of Waikato and Priority One (the Western Bay of Plenty’s economic development organisation). These organisations all share a vision for a collaborative R&D capability that will improve their global competitiveness, and the regional and national innovation systems they work in.

"PlantTech’s value proposition is in applied scientific research, coupled to innovation and knowledge transfer, at the interface of digital and natural systems. Its activities are directed through design-led innovation and informed by market drivers from a variety of companies. PlantTech aims to be a world leader in enabling customised, precise and automated production systems for premium, natural plant production, management and distribution, and in making these systems accessible to businesses at a range of scales. For the first stages of PlantTech’s operation, the focus is on research in artificial intelligence, applied to multi-modal sensor inputs, to enable autonomous solutions for growers and managers of horticultural operations or crops. While the Western Bay of Plenty provides the ‘lab’ in which the work will be conducted, PlantTech’s research will contribute to outcomes in many sectors, and will be commercialised nationally and globally in markets as diverse as sports facilities, hydroponics, logistics and other primary industries; including horticultural industries such as kiwifruit.

PlantTech’s benefit to New Zealand will ultimately be realised by accelerating business growth through improved speed and quality of innovation. If successful, participation in PlantTech by technology SMEs will generate an estimated $34million p/a additional revenue and create 100 new jobs by 2022, growing to an estimated additional revenue of $102million p/a and 290 new jobs by 2027.

Start-up investment of $8.425m for PlantTech has been secured through the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s Regional Research Institute (RRI) fund, announced in July 2017. By year five (2022) total private investment will exceed Government investment and by year ten (2026) will comprise up to 80% of the total investment."