New Riddet Institute Board Announced

The Riddet Institute, a world leading Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE), and its host Massey University, are delighted to announce the appointments of the remaining members of its new Board.  Joining Professor Stuart McCutcheon as the incoming chair and Professor Jan Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of Massey University as the host, the members of the new Board are Miriana Stephens, Mark Piper and Professor Jim Metson.

The Riddet Institute was awarded continued CoRE funding for the next eight years, and it began its new research programme in July 2021. As part of the new CoRE programme, the Riddet Institute has adopted a new Board structure which includes four independent members.  

Miriana Stephens (Ngāti Rārua, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui) is a director for Wakatū Incorporation, and is currently also leading AuOra™ which is an associated business of Wakatū that invests in a portfolio of nutrition products sourced from the natural biomatter of Aotearoa. Miriana also serves on a variety of boards and committees related to food, nutrition and agriculture including AGMARDT, Nuku ki te Puku™ (a national Māori Food and Beverage cluster), the MPI Food and Fibres Leadership Group, and Te Tira Whakahihiko (MBIE Advisor Māori RS&I). Miriana has recently joined the Leaft Foods Ltd SFFF Programme Governance Group as the Chair. Miriana was awarded the 2016 Aotearoa NZ Māori Woman Business Leader award.

Mark Piper is Director for Category, Strategy & Innovation at Fonterra, overseeing innovation platforms globally and Fonterra’s overarching strategy. Mark has been in the dairy industry for 29 years and has held roles across manufacturing, IT, and supply chain. He moved to Tokyo for 3 years to manage technical engagement with customers. Mark then spent a further 5 years in Chicago as Regional Director for North America, overseeing around $1.8b of activity across multiple countries and customers. Mark returned to New Zealand in 2016 and has been based in Palmerston North leading innovation since 2017. Mark is Chair of Food HQ and is Board Member of Sprout Agritech.

Professor Jim Metson was a member of the previous Riddet Institute board and is now reappointed to provide continuity to the Board’s membership. Jim is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Auckland. His background is as a physical chemist, with research interests in materials science and particularly the science of surfaces. He has served in a range of national and international roles and before his current role was Chief Science Advisor to New Zealand’s Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. Previously he was the Chair of the MoRST Research Infrastructure Advisory Group and New Zealand Government representative on the Australian National Science Advisory Committee that oversaw the development of the Australian Synchrotron.

Riddet Institute Director, Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh is extremely pleased with the new appointments and is looking forward to working alongside the new board. “Our Board’s strong leadership and experience in the food and innovation sectors bring a wealth of skills that will take the Institute from strength to strength.” he says. “As we move into our new phase of the Riddet Institute CoRE, never has it been more critical that we discover and deliver the cutting-edge knowledge required to transform our food sector. It is a privilege to join with the new Board and lead the Institute into its next term”.

The Riddet Institute has five partner organisations; Massey University (host), AgResearch, Plant & Food Research, the University of Auckland and the University of Otago, and a number of collaborators (Auckland University of Technology, , University of Canterbury, and Victoria University Wellington). Scientists within these New Zealand organisations, specialists in food science as well as other supporting disciplines, are brought together within the Institute. The Institute will continue in its role with the partner universities, in training highly skilled graduates that move into careers in industry, research institutes and universities. This transfer of skills and knowledge will strengthen the nation’s research capacity in food. The Riddet Institute’s new CoRE programme will run from July 2021 to December 2028.

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