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New Biological Heritage Science Challenge

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29 August 2014

New Biological Heritage Science Challenge – More than a Research Programme

The new National Science Challenge, New Zealand’s Biological Heritage - Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho, announced today by Science and Innovation Minister, Hon Steven Joyce is much more than just a large research programme, according to Dr James Buwalda, Chair of the Challenge

“The Challenge is a national partnership – a completely different way of working to reverse the decline of New Zealand’s biological heritage,” says Dr Buwalda.

“Our economic, environmental and cultural prosperity is heavily dependent on our biological heritage. Elements of our biological heritage are under pressure and everyone with a stake in these issues needs to work effectively together to bring about improvements.

“The Biological Heritage Challenge brings together biodiversity and biosecurity research, integrates research on native and exotic species, and spans both natural and production landscapes to create a world-class research platform. Funding of $25.8 million over five years will allow the Challenge to support an ambitious and transformational research programme.

“As well as producing national benefits, New Zealand’s top researchers will benefit from the scale of the Challenge, the linkages it brings to international partners, and its innovative, high-tech research programmes.”

“With 38 partner organisations, and input from dozens of other stakeholder entities, this Challenge brings together all the key sectors - government, research, business, Māori and the public - to achieve transformative change for New Zealand’s biological heritage.”

The CRI Landcare Research will host the Challenge. Chief Executive Dr Richard Gordon likens this role to pioneering a new pathway. “Landcare Research is proud to be accountable for the success of this Challenge, which builds on our history of collaboration in science.

“A step-change in achievement against the national goals is going to demand a new way of working and a strong sense of common purpose across the partners. I am confident this team will be proactive in challenging established norms in how science works to deliver benefit to New Zealand,” says Dr Gordon.

Challenge Interim Director Dr Bruce Clarkson says the Challenge has the potential to provide a fundamental shift in research thinking, alignment and collaboration. “The proposed research will require new ideas to flourish and work at much larger scale compared with now.”

“As the Independent Review Panel noted, ‘the conceptual framework of the Challenge builds well on existing biodiversity and biosecurity research and the team has a clear view of the research, management, and governance needed to deliver step change and additionality’.”

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