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Scion Annual Report showcases many successes


Scion Annual Report showcases many successes

Scion has issued its annual report for the 12 months ending 30 June 2018 presenting a successful year for the Rotorua-based Crown research institute.

Recently appointed Chair Dr Helen Anderson says the Scion Board and staff strongly believe that forestry, and all that can be made from trees, has great potential to enhance New Zealand’s prosperity, wellbeing and environment in very significant ways.

“Our purpose is highly aligned with many government objectives, such as increasing afforestation and enabling a zero carbon emissions economy by 2050.

“Scion, too, is well aligned to supporting Māori achieve long-term aspirations for their land and their people. Many Māori entities are directly or indirectly linked to forestry, and, during the year, three partnerships involving Scion were supported by the new Provincial Growth Fund,” said Dr Anderson.

A milestone achievement for Scion was completion of the world-first draft assembly of the radiata pine genome, which marked the beginning of a new era of precision forestry for this dominant plantation species.

In other work, Scion found that optimising radiata pine stand density could increase the net value of the plantation estate by $1.7 billion. A newly developed model can predict the optimum final crop stand density for producing structural grade timber. The model will be released later in 2018 for use by forest owners and managers to plan targeted operations optimising stand density and maximising the value of their crop.

Biosecurity work was intense during the year with Scion involved in the myrtle rust incursion response both as leaders of specific projects and as collaborators in multi-disciplinary and multi-organisation programmes. We also continued to be a key player in the kauri dieback response via a highly collaborative research programme.

Scion’s launch of the New Zealand Biofuels Roadmap in February by the Minister of Energy and Resources was successful in stimulating discussion on domestic large-scale production and use of liquid biofuels among major industry players and policy makers.

Financially 2017-18 was a strong year for the institute. Revenue growth of 9.3 per cent to $56.7 million (budget $54.6 million) provided a net profit after tax of $2.3 million (budget $1.7 million).

“This positions Scion well for reinvesting back into the organisation through the construction of the innovation hub and other significant science and building infrastructure.

“We made great progress during the year on our plans for an innovation hub in the heart of the campus, and we also refurbished dated office areas,” said Chief Executive Dr Julian Elder.

The detailed design for the innovation hub was largely completed, and construction is set to start in a few months. The innovation hub will be the new entry point to Scion and will include a public café and exhibition area, while also housing Scion staff and tenants.
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