Mark Patterson delighted AgResearch campus will stay in Invermay

Crown research institute AgResearch Ltd, as part of its Future Footprint plan, had intended to relocate top scientists and support staff — particularly those focused on sheep genetics and genomics — from Invermay to Lincoln.

However, those plans seem to have been shelved at the request of the Coalition Government.

After years of campaigning in Dunedin and in Parliament, a letter of expectation from Dr Megan Woods - the Research, Science and Innovation Minister - stressed the need to maintain Invermay as "a centre of research for the primary sector, especially in respect of sheep genetics and genomics".

"I expect you to maintain human and physical capital already developed at this site," she wrote.

AgResearch acting chairman Dr Paul Reynolds wrote back to the minister, confirming the organisation was "committed to maintaining our human and physical capital" at Invermay.

New Zealand First MP and spokesperson for agriculture Mark Patterson agreed the outcome was "a victory for common sense".

"We’ve got world class — the best — sheep genomics scientists in the world, and disbanding that would have been a disaster."

Initially, 85 science and support staff were expected to move from Invermay to new campuses in Palmerston North and Lincoln.

That number later dropped slightly, while the date staff were expected to move was pushed out as far as 2019.

It was also confirmed earlier this year AgResearch had scrapped plans for a joint Lincoln campus, set to cost $206million, and would instead investigate building its own facility at the campus, after the Coalition Government rejected a third business case for the venture.

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