Algal Biotechnology news

Clockwise L-R: Hidetoshi Kudo (seated), Hiroshi Kinoshita (standing), Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern (center), Dr Serean (standing), and Meg Matthews*
23 September 2019

Cawthron Institute international collaboration takes exciting step forward with algae MOU signing in Japan

Cawthron Institute’s world-leading international algae research collaborations took a significant step forward with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at an event in Tokyo hosted by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on 20 September.

The MOU between Cawthron and Hirojiren (a Hiroshima-based formal collaboration between the automotive industry, academia, and government) formalises Mazda’s commitment to building an R&D partnership focused on microalgae renewable energy including biofuels.

“The MOU provides an exciting platform to develop our existing work in the algae space,” says Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Prof. Charles Eason. “We are very pleased to see the connections between Cawthron and Hirojiren strengthening and this is the latest step forward for our collaborative relationship. We’re grateful for the work that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Innovative Partnerships Team has done in helping us to develop our partnership with Hirojiren.”

Images courtesy of NZ Embassy Tokyo

Prof. Eason says that Cawthron’s algae research is showing very significant potential as an area for commercial development and its MOU with Hirojiren signifies the extent to which such international collaborations are progressing.

“The commercial application of algae science is a very promising area for Cawthron and for New Zealand, and it is an area of science that is growing quickly and dynamically. We are well placed for this, and have the expertise to make an impact internationally utilising our world-leading algae science.

“The National Algae Research Centre which we are establishing here in Nelson with funding support from the government’s Provincial Growth Fund will also contribute greatly to algae science capability and help provide the knowledge needed to fuel international collaborations such as that with Hirojiren.”

Cawthron Institute Aquaculture General Manager Dr Serean Adams says she is very pleased that Hirojiren sees a strong alignment between its objectives and Cawthron’s capability.

“We are honoured that Hirojiren representatives have already taken the opportunity to visit Cawthron to see our work first hand and that we also had the opportunity to make a presentation  about our algae research at a symposium in Hiroshima, Japan last month on the theme of next generation liquid fuel.

“It’s fantastic to see the relationship being further developed as a result of the MOU signing. We take this as an indication that Hirojiren sees us as a high-quality partner with the right capability that understands its vision. Like Hirojiren, our focus is utilising algae science to provide real, sustainable solutions.”

Dr Adams, along with Chair of the Cawthron Institute Board of Directors, Meg Matthews, attended the MOU signing in Japan. 

*Full image caption: Clockwise L-R: Hidetoshi Kudo (seated) Executive Officer in charge of R&D Administration and Product Strategy, Mazda and the President, Special Committee on Energy, Hirojiren, Hiroshi Kinoshita (standing) Staff Manager, Technology Strategy, Mazda, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern (center), Dr Serean Adams (standing) General Manager Aquaculture, Cawthron and Meg Matthews (sitting) Cawthron Institute, Board of Directors Chair.