New chief executive appointments underscore wine industry commitment for NZ research centres

Dr Juliet Ansell (left) and John Patterson (right)

Bragato Research Institute (BRI) and Marlborough Research Centre (MRC) have both announced new executive appointments this week, with the BRI appointing Dr Juliet Ansell as chief executive officer and MRC welcoming John Patterson as chief executive.

Dr Juliet Ansell appointed chief executive officer of Bragato Research Institute

Mark Gilbert, chair of the BRI, announced the appointment of Dr Juliet Ansell yesterday.

“Juliet is a skilled science leader, bringing a wealth of experience in research and innovation to lead BRI in its next phase of accelerating research and innovation for the New Zealand wine industry,” said Gilbert.

Dr Ansell comes to BRI from her current role as head of core and resilience innovation at Zespri.

“I am excited to take on this new role and to bring my experience in science and innovation to grow the future of the wine industry,” said Dr Ansell.

Dr Ansell trained at Kings College London and has a PhD from Oxford University. She has lived and worked as a scientist in the UK, Tanzania, The Gambia, and Australia before taking up a role at Plant & Food Research in New Zealand. In that role, Dr Ansell led major research programmes with government and industry support involving lab-based research and human clinical trial work. She was seconded to Zespri in 2014 as Innovation Leader, initially working on human health and nutrition, delivering scientific substantiation of health communications and claims to marketing, before taking up the role of Head of Core and Resilience Innovation. She has been an elected member of the Executive Council of AgriTechNZ representing Major Corporates.

Dr Ansell will be relocating to Marlborough for the role, with her appointment effective from 15 July 2024. She says she is looking forward to working with the wine industry, making new connections, meeting new people, and getting to spend more time in Marlborough and other wine regions of New Zealand.


John Patterson appointed chief executive of Marlborough Research Centre

Marlborough Research Centre (MRC) has welcomed a new chief executive, announcing the appointment of John Patterson to the role effective 1 July 2024.

Patterson, an associate of MRC, emerged as the top candidate following a rigorous selection process that drew considerable interest.

Having worked closely with outgoing chief executive Gerald Hope for the past eight years, Patterson brings experience in research programme development and project management. His collaborative efforts with Gerald have contributed to the completion of key initiatives, including the construction of the New Zealand Wine Centre and the recently finished Experimental Future Vineyard (EFV), set to be formally opened later this year.

Patterson is committed to further development of the new complex situated at the Budge Street Campus alongside NMIT. “New Zealand’s future is aligned to developing new technologies, and sustainable growing systems that minimise environmental impacts and mitigate the impact of climate change,” he said.

“Key to the future success of MRC and its partners will be identifying and implementing smarter technologies based around a well-funded and effective science-based cluster. This is the objective of recent major investment consolidated under the New Zealand Wine Centre that was officially opened by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in 2022.”


Collective investment to industry

The New Zealand Wine Centre provides an integrated research, business, and education hub, unique to New Zealand. It has attracted attention from international researchers and technology organizations and firms. Over the past six years, MRC and Bragato Research Institute have collectively invested $20 million on-site, signalling a joint commitment for innovative technology and support for the primary production sectors in Marlborough.

Bernie Rowe, chairman of the board of Trustees of MRC, emphasised that the core mission of the organisation has remained unwavering since its inception forty years ago: to collaborate closely with the primary production sector and cultivate respected and effective science and research capability.

“The potential to further link into international research organisations through the EFV is exciting and I am confident that John will build on that relationship. The objective is to enhance outcomes for regional business, increase exports, and improve returns for producers and manufacturers,” Rowe said.

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