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Antarctic research boost in collaborative venture

10 February 2006

Antarctic research boosted in collaborative venture

Unlocking the secrets of Antarctica’s geology and its role and record of the Earth’s climate are at the forefront a new collaborative joint venture between GNS Science and Victoria University of Wellington.

The establishment of the Joint Antarctic Research Institute will be celebrated at a function at the University’s Adam Art Gallery on Tuesday 14 February attended by the Minister of Research, Science & Technology, the Hon Steve Maharey.

The Joint Antarctic Research Institute, which combines the expertise of Victoria’s Antarctic Research Centre and GNS Science’s Antarctic research programme, will bring together under one umbrella about 30 staff from the two institutions with an interest in Antarctic and related earth science research.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pat Walsh, said the Joint Antarctic Research Institute would allow both organisations to formalise a long-standing relationship.

“Researchers from both Victoria and its Antarctic Research Centre and GNS Science have carried out research in Antarctica since the International Geophysical Year in 1957-58 and since the 1970s we have jointly worked together on research projects to investigate the Earth’s climate history by carrying out offshore drilling.

“Expanding our already successful Antarctic Research Centre through a formal partnership means the Joint Antarctic Research Institute will bid for external research funding for larger projects, as well as share expertise and analytical facilities held by GNS Science and Victoria. For our students, a closer relationship will open even further opportunities for developing innovative and applied research projects.”

Professor Walsh said a key concern for the Joint Antarctic Research Institute would be climate change.

“Antarctica’s ice and the sediment in the seas around it preserve a record of changes in the Earth’s climate in the past that will help us understand what is likely to happen in the future.”

GNS Science Chief Executive Dr Alex Malahoff said the joint initiative marked a new step in collaboration between his organisation and its closest university partner.

“The work of the new Institute will rely very much on our National Isotope Centre, a unique facility in New Zealand for environmental research in Antarctica.”

The Joint Antarctic Research Institute will be headed by Director, Professor Peter Barrett from Victoria, and Deputy Director, Associate Professor Tim Naish, who works for both the University and GNS Science. The Joint Antarctic Research Institute will work with other Crown Research Institutes and Universities in carrying out its research.


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