Our people

Science Leadership Group

The Science Leadership Group is made up of industry experts from across our alliance. They review proposals for funding and support in the first instance, and make their recommendations to the Board for final approval.

Stewart Collie, AgResearch

Stewart Collie is the Science Team Leader for the Bioproduct and Fibre Technology Team in the Smart Foods and Bioproducts Group at AgResearch. His background is in wool and textiles, but the current research activities of the team include a range of bio-based material formats and processes, especially protein-based materials coming from secondary resource streams from the agriculture sector.

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Richard Edmonds, Plant & Food Research

Richard is a food processing engineer and a member of the Food and Products Technology group at Plant & Food Research. His focus is on plant protein processing and the use of techno economic analysis to tie concepts together to produce viable commercial outcomes.

Prior to joining Plant & Food Research in 2018, Richard was with the Leather and Shoe Research Association, first as a research officer then as a research scientist after completing a PhD in enzyme processing lambskins in 2008.

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Marc Gaugler, Scion

Marc is a chemical engineer, and heads up Scion’s Distributed and Circular Manufacturing Portfolio, part of its Materials, Engineering and Manufacturing Group. His current research area focuses on using biomass resources available in New Zealand to produce value-add materials, such as bioplastics, composites and biochemicals from woody biomass. He started his professional life developing, identifying and developing bio-based plastics additives, and then moved into plastics product and processing development.

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Teresa Moreno, Callaghan Innovation

Teresa is a Principal Project Engineer at Callaghan Innovation’s Integrated Biotechnologies Group, where she specialises in the application of process engineering to the production of high value products from biological resources. Her expertise spans multiple areas, including supercritical fluid extraction, chromatography and fractionation, as well as food technology, product formulation and membrane separations. One of Teresa’s professional interests is hemp and cannabis processing, where she has developed expertise in decarboxylation, extraction and downstream processing of this material to produce high cannabinoid-containing products.

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Paul Rose, Callaghan Innovation

Paul is a Senior Scientist at Callaghan Innovation in the Integrated Bioactive Technologies Group, specialising in the development of processes for adding value to natural materials, toward high value products and applications. His technical expertise is in process design and integration; the utilisation of high pressure solvents in extraction, separation, fractionation and product formation processes; with an emphasis on pilot scale development and technology transfer. Paul is also experienced in project management, and manages the BPA’s Virtual Pilot Plant Network.

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Management

Our General Manager maintains links between the BPA, our R&D partners, industry and the innovation sector.  She provides funding advice and support in developing project ideas and submitting applications.

Nicky Solomon, General Manager

Nicky joined the BPA as General Manager in August 2023 and also represents the New Zealand Food Innovation Network in the region from Tairāwhiti down the east coast to Wellington. Additionally, she runs Hawke’s Bay’s activity related to the ‘Sustainable is Attainable’ initiative, bringing food processors together to collaborate on opportunities and challenges related to sustainability including adding value to co-products. Nicky has a PhD in Food Science, and is a member of the Food Waste Champions 12.3 and the NZ Food Safety/Haumaru Kai Aotearoa Advisory Board. She is the current chair of the board of Foodeast Haumako.

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Our Board

Our Board of Directors governs the BPA’s performance, makes funding decisions, and provides strategic direction.

Garth Carnaby (Chair)

Garth runs his own company providing research, governance, consultancy and strategic advice services in the science, agriculture, manufacturing, food and wool fields. He is a past-President of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Garth’s other external appointments have included Chair of the NZ Synchrotron Company, Chair of the Canterbury Development Corporation and Canterbury Regional Innovation System, and Chair of NZ Food Innovation South Island. He was World President of the Manchester-based Textile Institute in 2000-2002 and chaired the Marsden Fund Council from 2004-2009. Garth holds Doctorates from four separate Commonwealth universities and has spent many years inventing and commercialising industrial technologies in partnership with companies. He was made a Member of NZ Order of Merit, (MNZM) in the 2006 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the wool industry and was promoted to the Order to Companion for services to science and governance in 2018.

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Owen Catchpole, Callaghan Innovation

Owen is the Chief Engineer for the Biotechnologies Group of Innovation Expertise, a business unit of Callaghan Innovation. The group specialises in near-to-market research and development into the application of bioprocessing to biologically-derived raw materials to make high value nutraceuticals, food ingredients and biopharmaceuticals. His work was instrumental in establishing a supercritical extraction industry in New Zealand to make such products, which has led to a Royal Society NZ Science & Technology Silver Medal, the NZIC Fonterra prize for Industrial and Applied Research, being elected a Fellow of Engineering NZ and a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Aparangi, and most recently, being awarded the R J Scott Medal.

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Stefan Clerens, AgResearch

Stefan is Science Group Manager of Smart Foods & Bioproducts, one of AgResearch’s four Science Groups. The Group comprises nine science teams in the food science and biomaterials space. The Group’s food sciences capabilities include microbial food safety and shelf life, flavour and aroma profiling, dairy and meat processing, non-invasive sensing, fermentation, gut health, behaviour and cognitive wellbeing, consumer understanding, and emerging proteins.

His research experience revolves around omics technologies, specifically proteomics and peptidomics as applied to food and bioproduct matrices.

Stefan received his PhD from the University of Leuven (Belgium) in mass spectrometry of biomolecules. He is also a member of the Riddet Institute Partner Reference Group, and sits on the New Zealand Synchrotron Group and the Canterbury Joint Postgraduate School Food Transitions 2050 as the AgResearch representative.

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Peter Gostomski, University of Canterbury

Peter is currently the acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research at the University of Canterbury. Previously he has been the acting Executive Dean of Engineering and the Head of Department in Chemical & Process Engineering. His research interests are in bioprocess engineering, looking at both the production of biochemicals and environmental biotreatment technologies. Specific projects that he is actively working on include biofiltration, denitrification and microbial fuel cells. He is a Fellow of both IChemE and Engineering NZ.

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Florian Graichen, Scion

Florian is General Manager Forests to Biobased Products at Scion and is responsible for projects, programmes and impact delivery around replacing petrochemicals and non-sustainable materials with products from trees and other biomaterials. These activities are aimed at the design of biomaterials to create products for the rapidly growing sustainability conscious market enabled through distributed manufacturing and biorefineries across New Zealand.

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Max Kennedy, Independent Board Member

Max Kennedy is a biochemical engineer specialising in fermentation and is the Managing Director of consulting company, Biolighthouse Ltd. Previously, he was Manager of Contestable Investments at the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). In this role, Max was responsible for Research & Development supporting transformative economic, environmental and social outcomes for New Zealand including from the Endeavour Fund (New Zealand’s largest contestable research fund), the industry-led Partnership Fund, the Pre-Seed Acceleration Fund, and the Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund. Max also led MBIE’s COVID Innovation Acceleration Fund to support research to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Susan Marshall, Plant & Food Research

Sue is Science Group Leader of the Seafood Processing and Marine Products Group within the Seafood Portfolio at Plant and Food Research. The Group’s marine product research focuses on optimised utilisation of marine biomass through development of foods, nutraceuticals, and biomaterials; the industrial processes needed to make them; and the application of new analytical technologies for real-time process monitoring. She is particularly interested in bridging the gap between laboratory science and large-scale manufacturing, with an emphasis on zero waste, and ‘green’ processing solutions to reduce energy and chemical use.

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Francene Wineti, Independent Board Member

Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Rangi, Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairoa.

Francene is owner and director of Awariki Limited, a niche consultancy company delivering specialised services on kaupapa Māori research and development and Māori cultural capability. Francene has a wealth of experience in iwi/Māori development and strong relationships in the government, science and innovation sectors with well established iwi/Māori networks, across all faces of Māori business.

Her areas of expertise include fisheries, aquaculture, agribusiness, agrifood, science and innovation, and iwi/Māori economic development. She holds a number of governance roles including Director of Ngāti Tuwharetoa Fisheries Limited, Hautaki Trust and Trustee of Te Huarahi Tika Trust – the Māori Radio-spectrum Trust and Te Ara Pōtiki Trust – a charitable trust that aims to increase the number of Māori people connected to and experienced with international startups in the Agri-food sector.

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