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New Zealand research body to gain $8.4m funding

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New Zealand’s wool industry could be ‘‘transformed” by a research partnership that has secured $8.4million of Government investment over seven years, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy say.

The Wool Industry Research Ltd (WIRL) partnership, New Uses for Wool, is co-funded by the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand and worth $21million overall.

It involves New Zealand Wool Services International, AgResearch, Lincoln Agritech and Otago and Massey Universities, with potential for other companies to join the partnership in the future.

The research programme was structured to generate transformational opportunities for the coarse wool-based industry and comprised three areas: a basic research programme would underpin the partnership through developing new knowledge about the natural structure and formation of wool fibre; discovering effective ways to reconstitute the fibre in a range of functional forms; and optimising the performance and utilisation of the new materials in a range of forms and applications.

Mr Joyce said the programme could potentially expose ‘‘vast new markets” for New Zealand wool. It had already attracted strong interest from the high-value multinational cosmetics industry, and had the support of farmers and wool processors.

Mr Guy said the new funding would build on the work that WIRL had already undertaken in generating new ideas for wool, including novel textiles, bedding materials and filtration materials.

Source: NZ Otago Daily Times

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