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New partnership to provide data firepower for NZ’s future

New partnership to provide data firepower for NZ’s future

2 September, 2015

New Zealand’s two major science computer providers are to form an alliance that will benefit New Zealand science researchers across Universities and Crown Research Institutes.

The New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI), hosted by the University of Auckland, and New Zealand Genomics Ltd (NZGL), based at the University of Otago, will combine forces to provide the most powerful computing environment for science research in New Zealand.

“To have impact in the 21st Century, researchers must be able to approach larger scale and more complex questions through the power of computational and analytical techniques,” says NeSI Director Nick Jones.

“We’re drawing together our resources so that researchers can tame big data and respond to some of our hardest research challenges.”

Where scientists once worked almost exclusively in a laboratory, these days much of their work is done by computer analysis and computer modelling which is not only faster but cheaper, particularly for early-stage research.

Diagnostic approaches to disease are increasingly informed by huge range of gene sequencing techniques, but these massive data sets require significant computer firepower.

“The new alliance will make available genomics expertise and computing capacity for the wide spectrum of projects active across the research system. For example, identifying new genotypes to help New Zealand’s primary industry, identifying genomic markers so that invasive pests such as fruit fly can be more easily identified, and providing water quality testing that is simpler and more accurate” says NZGL chief executive Dr Tony Lough.

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“Imagine a world where every newborn baby had their genome sequenced at birth and that data was available to that person for use throughout their lifetime. This would, for example, help health professionals to understand that person's predisposition to disease or inform what drugs to prescribe,”

“We really are moving into a new world where big data is going to impact many aspects of our lives and through this collaboration, New Zealand science will benefit across the board and allow us to compete with the rest of the world.”

The partnership will provide genomics expertise and a computing platform for the Government’s National Science Challenges – the multimillion dollar funding initiative that sees the country’s scientists collaborating across key research areas including land and water, nutrition, earthquake resilience, biodiversity, ageing and marine science.

ENDS

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