Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Our Land and Water National Science Challenge launched

Our Land and Water National Science Challenge launched

Enhancing New Zealand’s primary sector economic contributions while improving our environment is the aim of the newest National Science Challenge, Our Land and Water – Toitū te Whenua, Toiora te Wai.

The Challenge, the largest of the 11, was officially launched by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce in Wellington last night [26th January]. It is hosted by AgResearch and brings together researchers from all seven crown research institutes and four universities. Funding for the Challenge is nearly $100 million over 10 years. This will be supported by additional co-funding of up to $130 million from the crown research institutes.

“It’s a truly auspicious day,” says Dr Paul Reynolds, the interim board chair. “The primary sectors underpin the country’s economy and it has never been more urgent to provide research solutions that enhance productivity whilst maintaining and improving the environmental values on which farming, as well as society, depend.”

He says researchers have worked extensively with farmers, growers and foresters, environmental managers and Māori to co-develop a programme to meet the Challenge’s objective. The Challenge has four research themes: Innovative, resilient land and water use; Collaborative capacity; Greater value in global markets; and Operating at the Nexus.

The Challenge is hosted by AgResearch, and its research partners are University of Auckland, ESR, GNS, Landcare Research, Lincoln Agritech, Lincoln University, Massey University, NIWA, Plant & Food Research, Scion, and University of Waikato.

“The Challenge has been influenced by and will build on the good work already done by the Land and Water Forum. We have close links with several of the other Challenges, in particular Biological Heritage which focuses on our native biodiversity, biosecurity, and resilience to harmful organisms. Together we will be working to accelerate science for the betterment of our land and water and the next generation.”

Dr Reynolds announced the first two official Challenge appointments: Ken Taylor as permanent Challenge director and Professor Richard McDowell as Chief Scientist.

“Mr Taylor is currently the Director of the Science Group at Environment Canterbury, and chairs a reference group of the Land and Water Forum, and is ideally placed to lead the Challenge.”

Professor McDowell has been the Interim Chief Scientist, and is a Principal Scientist at AgResearch and Professor of Soil and Water Quality at Lincoln University.

“His special interest in providing options and tools to mitigate water quality contamination while maintaining profitable primary production enterprises will be invaluable to the Challenge,” says Dr Reynolds.
AgResearch Chief Executive Dr Tom Richardson says it is a privilege for AgResearch to host the Challenge and lead its establishment.

“This has been a huge combined effort to date, with more than 50 stakeholder organisations involved. The Challenge team has already determined there are 350 research projects contributing towards the Challenge outcome. The research plan for the Challenge has focussed on filling the gaps.

“In addition to the new government funding, the Challenge has the mandate to act as the integrator and influencer for all of the research projects in this area. I think this is where the most value will be created for New Zealand.

“The launch marks, in Winston Churchill’s words, the end of the beginning. The way ahead and the opportunity for transformational science for the benefit of all of us is very exciting,” says Dr Richardson.
Announcements on the first projects funded by the Challenge are expected in May.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Crown Accounts: Slightly Softer Growth Expected In PREFU

A slightly softer growth forecast is the main feature of largely unchanged Pre-election Fiscal Update compared to the Budget forecasts three months ago, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>

ALSO:

Water: Farming Leaders Pledge To Help Make Rivers Swimmable

In a first for the country, farming leaders have pledged to work together to help make New Zealand’s rivers swimmable for future generations. More>>

ALSO:

Unintended Consequences: Liquor Change For Grocery Stores On Tobacco Tax

Changes in the law made to enable grocery stores to continue holding liquor licences to sell alcohol despite increases in tobacco taxes will take effect on 15 September 2017. More>>

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

By May 2018: Wider, Earlier Microbead Ban

The sale and manufacture of wash-off products containing plastic microbeads will be banned in New Zealand earlier than previously expected, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today. More>>

ALSO: