FAHRENHEIT 212 AND NEW ZEALAND WOOL
FUNDING INJECTION FOR WOOL INNOVATION
Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand Inc. (WRInc) has announced funding for a comprehensive strategy for innovation within the wool industry, focused on the long and short term needs of the industry.
WRInc has coordinated the provision of a fund of $17 million by committing seed funding, and securing additional commitments from the wool industry and the Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST), to fund the strategy over a five year period.
WRInc Chairman, David Douglas, says this money will be invested to resolve a number of identified industry issues and opportunities for apparel and carpets, being used to fund projects prioritised by industry. The funds will be contestable and industry will be expected to provide matching funds of at least one third of the cost of projects undertaken.
A condition of the FRST funding is that a separate consortium company be formed (Wool Industry Research Ltd.) with an independent Chairman. Graham Brown, a partner in the firm Brown Glassford, chartered accountants of Christchurch, has been appointed Chairman. Other directors will be David Douglas (WRInc Chairman), Colin Harvey (businessman with a science and innovation background and Chairman of the Wool Unity Group) and Robert Finch (independent scientist and CEO of the Structural Timber Innovation Co Ltd). Ian Cuthbertson will manage the consortium.
WRInc will commit their portion of funding from the $32 million of funds that has been invested to provide income for research funding for the post harvest wool sector in New Zealand. The WRInc Board has successfully reorganised the assets of the organisation over the past 3 years to be able to support the wool industry in the area of research and innovation.
“This is a major milestone for the Wool Industry, and would not have happened without the cooperation of the commercial wool companies in New Zealand,” David Douglas said.
In addition to this initiative, WRONZ has engaged the services of the New York based innovation company Fahrenheit 212 which works largely with Fortune 500 companies. The project concept is to use Fahrenheit 212 to develop commercial propositions for New Zealand wool that will result in new large scale, high yielding applications or uses for New Zealand wool that deliver an enduring increase in demand for New Zealand wool and products made from it.
Fahrenheit 212 was formed and is managed by an expatriate New Zealander, Geoff Vuleta.
Specifically, the ideas will:
• Create new opportunities for wool fibre and products made from it at a volume significant enough to lift the prices of the fibre that is not being used in the new applications
• Create product streams which can carry a significant increase in wool fibre price compared to the existing products/end uses for equivalent wool types
• Be capable of generating new value of at least $NZ50M/annum from export receipts generated from the new ideas over the period 18 to 30 months following uptake of the idea;
• Consume a minimum of 10% of current NZ wool production (i.e. > 11Mkgs)
The project has been initiated by WRInc and supported by the Wool Unity Group. WRInc will be the contracting party, with the project being managed by Wool Industry Research Ltd.
“WRInc is to be congratulated for bringing this R&D strategy together,” said Colin Harvey, the Wool Unity Group Chairman.
“This shows the progress we can make when we work together as an industry and also demonstrates the ongoing support from government for the wool industry. The Wool Unity Group is now looking to progress other initiatives for the wool industry to ensure that the long term viability of the industry is secure.”
For more information please contact:
Chairman Wool Research Organisation of NZ Inc.
Ph 03 431 2585
Chairman Wool Unity Group
Click here to read about the initiative on Newstalk ZB.
Click here to read about the initiative on Otago Daily Times.