News Archives 2018
IRANZ members’ awards and honours
December 2018: IRANZ members have received a plethora of awards and honours in the past two months, both in-house and in the wider community.
At Motu, Suzi Kerr has been appointed as Chief Economist at Environmental Defense Fund in New York and will start there in April 2019, but will continue her connection with Motu in an advisory role.
At CRL Energy, Troy Dougherty was a finalist for Wellingtonian of the Year in the Science and Technology Category.
Franca Ronchese, head of the immune cell biology team at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research gave the prestigious Burnet Oration at the 47th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Society for Immunology.
There are many more. . .
Malaghan’s CAR T-cell therapy
December 2018: The Malaghan Institute’s ground-breaking CAR T-cell therapy programme to treat cancer has hardly been out of the news in the last two months, with coverage on radio, tv, and in print. The increase in media interest is in part due to cancer survivor and self-declared ‘genetically modified organism’ David Downs, who received a similar treatment in the United States, launching the "Down with Cancer" fundraising campaign in September as part of the effort to bring the treatment here.
Malaghan's version of CAR T-cell therapy, a revolutionary new cancer treatment which redirects a patient’s own immune cells to fight the disease, involves modifying a patient’s immune cells (T-cells) in the laboratory. The modified T-cells are then returned to the patient, where they can attack and destroy cancer cells.
Clinical director Dr Rob Weinkove says they hope to run a clinical trial to test safety and efficacy in 2019.
Changing treatment method for lung disease
December 2018: A landmark study by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand and published in the international journal BMC Pulmonary Medicine shows, for the first time, that nebulisation using oxygen as the driving gas to deliver drugs is potentially dangerous for acutely unwell Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients compared with room air.
An estimated 200,000 New Zealanders suffer from COPD - the clinical term for both emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
“Until now it has been thought that oxygen as a means of delivering vital nebuliser therapy has been safe for patients hospitalised with acute flare-ups” says MRINZ Director Professor Richard Beasley. “This study, however, shows that high flow oxygen to nebulise the medication can actually cause harm. Our results show excessive oxygen actually reduces ventilation, and, in some patients, causes a substantial build-up of carbon dioxide to risky levels,” he says.
Watch Dr Beasley's interview about the research on TV3's NewsHub.
Unravelling nitrogen delivery to waterways
December 2018: Research led by Dr Roland Stenger at Lincoln Agritech is examining how to better manage freshwater pollution. He says we need to understand the pathways by which nitrogen travels from land to waterways - how fast it travels and how much nitrogen is naturally removed by microorganisms as it moves from the soil through the groundwater into a waterway.
At present, there is little understanding of nitrogen pathways and removal processes at the sub-catchment scale (10’s of km2), i.e. the scale dominated by streams which feed into our rivers. However, it is at this scale that we have the best management and mitigation options available to reduce nitrogen delivery to waterways.
CMER releases new mine environment life-cycle guides
December 2018: Mining is an important economic activity in New Zealand, and it has a long history that is often linked with important cultural developments. However, the process of mineral extraction inevitably affects the surrounding environment, and there have been few tools available to help mining companies and regulators assess and predict the environmental impacts of mining operations for New Zealand’s geology and environmental conditions.
The Centre for Minerals Environmental Research (CMER), led by Dr James Pope of CRL Energy, has recently published comprehensive Mine Environment Life-cycle Guides for coal mines, mesothermal gold mines, and epithermal gold mines.
Cawthron focus on kina-shell meds and improving fish farming
December 2018: King salmon make up only around 0.4 percent of the worldwide salmon industry. As a result, most salmon farming related research has been carried out on Atlantic salmon, a species that sits within a different genus to king salmon. King salmon are a significant aquaculture species in New Zealand, representing around 32 percent of the industry’s total revenue. Researchers at Cawthron say there is opportunity to increase this further by helping industry to better understand this species.
In other news from the briny deep, it seems that kina are not just a tasty seafood delicacy. Cawthron Institute’s Dr Matt Miller was on Maori Television in October, where he talked about his research into the potential medicinal benefits of wild-harvested kina.
Aqualinc: Groundwater as an energy source
December 2018: Christchurch is underlain by a series of confined aquifers ranging in depths from five metres to greater than 200 metres. These aquifers are highly productive, with yields in excess of 100 litres per second possible from single wells, and the aquifers flow freely under artesian pressure in many areas. This abundant source of water makes the Christchurch aquifers ideal for supporting ground source heat pump (GSHP) systems.
Aqualinc's Dr Helen Rutter and Julian Weir have been researching making these systems an efficient and sustainable option for large-scale heating and cooling.
CSST forms new partnerships with NASA, CSIRO and Airbus
December 2018: Among the flurry of activity by the Centre for Space Science Technology in the past couple of months, the Regional Research Institute has developed several significant partnerships. The first is with NASA on a mission to measure the temperature of plants and use that information to better understand how much water plants need and how they respond to stress. The second is with Australia’s CSIRO to jointly solve the complex challenges that arise from the demands and impacts of human activities on the environment, specifically in the South Pacific. Third, CSST also announced a deal with Airbus to provide access to Airbus’s products in New Zealand and the Pacific.
Motu: Measuring human rights around the world
November 2018: To improve human rights conditions, we first need to be able to measure them. Until now, the world hasn’t had a simple, transparent way to monitor how countries treat their people. This was a problem. When something is not measured, it is easily overlooked and undervalued.
The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI), hosted by Motu Economic and Public Policy, is filling this gap. They are working to produce a free easy-to-access database of metrics, summarising human rights performance in countries around the world. With a good set of measures, it will be easier to improve human rights.
Metals strong contributor to living standards
November 2018: A new report commissioned from BERL by HERA shows that the New Zealand metals industry is a strong contributor to both the economy and the living standards of New Zealanders.
The report measures the industry’s performance using Treasury’s Living Standards Framework (LSF), making the metals industry the first to review their performance against the LSF inter-generational wellbeing assessment.
The assessment reveals that the metals industry is a strong contributor to New Zealand’s economic performance, with the manufacturing component of the industry alone currently providing almost 30,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and generating around $3.3 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) each year.
Certain gut worms may benefit health
November 2018: An unexpected find by the Malaghan Institute’s parasitic disease team might make some instinctively squeamish – it seems that certain gut parasites might actually be doing their human hosts a favour. Certain species of parasitic worm provide long-lasting protection against infection from other species of parasites in other organs, contradicting our traditional understanding of parasitic worms as acting to dampen the immune system, which would predict weaker protection from later infections.
Dr Kara Filbey also talked to RadioNZ about the team’s findings and the implications for treating allergic diseases such as eczema and coeliac disease.
BRANZ: Mental health in construction industry
November 2018: The New Zealand Construction Industry has the highest percentage of suicide for employed men of any industry in this country. Most of those interviewed as part of a recent BRANZ study, while surprised at the high suicide rate, agreed there was a key driver to the high rates - the poor culture. Described as "macho" and "bullying" and including intolerance of diversity, the culture was seen to significantly contribute to poor mental health of construction industry workers.
The impact on worksite safety of poor mental health is high, with presenteeism being seen as a major health and safety risk for those working on site.
Who partners up?
November 2018: Who you fall in love with and partner with is helping drive wealth inequality according to new research by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. Their recently released report, "Who partners up?", says educational assortative matching among couples, i.e., the phenomenon whereby the high-educated have partners who are also high-educated, is a not insignificant driver of recent changes in the distribution of household income in New Zealand.
TERNZ to lead review of Australian PBS tyres
November 2018: Dr John de Pont from TERNZ (Transport Engineering Research New Zealand) has been appointed by Australia's National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to lead a review of their Performance-Based Standards (PBS) tyre standards and operations.
The review will identify the best practice approach for the management of tyres within the PBS scheme.
John is also currently working with the NZTA on formalising the New Zealand PBS system.
Photo: Prime Mover Magazine
CSST aids NASA with ‘Ecostress’
November 2018: Alexandra's Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST) has partnered with NASA in a scientific mission stakeholders say will have valuable agricultural spinoffs. The "Ecostress" mission is the CSST’s first international space mission partnership, and could eventually help increase agricultural yield, optimise forestry management and protect the world’s vulnerable ecosystems. The mission will measure the temperature of plants and use that information to better understand how much water plants need and how they respond to stress.
The ECOSTRESS instrument on board the ISS captures images such as the one of Mount Taranaki, which shows the temperature of the land surface. Photo: CSST/NASA
Lincoln Ag tech tipped to save dairy industry millions
October 2018: Lincoln Agritech Ltd, has developed a new breakthrough technology. An new automated biosensor, known as Milk-Guard, can detect processing losses in dairy plants and could save the industry millions of dollars a year and help prevent pollutants from entering waterways.
The device is currently being commercialised by Christchurch-based start-up company, CertusBio.
A Milk-Guard device in action at a dairy processing plant, operated by Dr Matthew Jones (CEO, CertusBio). Photo credit: Lincoln Agritech.
BRANZ: Acoustical design of Medium Density Housing
October 2018: Urban growth and demand for housing have resulted in a move towards high-density and medium-density housing (MDH) such as townhouses, terraced units or apartments, but is the industry up to spec when it comes to acoustic privacy? Research by BRANZ on acoustical design of medium-density housing has found industry knowledge level, regulations, lack of information, integration, and understanding end-user needs as biggest issues.
A key issue for medium-density housing is the need to design and construct walls and floors/ceilings between individual dwelling units to ensure acoustic privacy.
Cawthron hunts medicinal benefits in kina shell
October 2018: Cawthron Institute’s Matt Miller was on Maori Television in September, where he talked about his research into the medicinal benefits of wild harvested kina – in particular, the shell. This research is part of a collaboration between Hikurangi Enterprises, East Coast hapū, Massey University and the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge.
Wild seabed kina. Photo: Hirurangi Enterprises.
WSP Opus – paving the way for better roads
September 2018: WSP Opus have several exciting projects on the go, everything from developing roading materials using waste streams such as tyre rubber and plastics with bitumen, modifying chip seals and other road surfaces with non-bituminous materials that are less prone to water damage, to creating roads that will last for 40 years before needing replacing.
Dr Jeremy Wu gave IRANZ members and the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor, Prof Juliet Gerrard, a run-down on the research being conducted at the WSP Opus Research facility in Petone. Photo: Louise Thomas.
PM's Chief Scientist visits IRANZ at WSP Opus
September 2018: The Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor, Juliet Gerrard, attended the IRANZ meeting at WSP Opus Research in Petone on 13 September. Prof. Gerrard was very positive about the role of independent research organisations in New Zealand, especially their work in engaging the community with science, their practical focus, and the research work and research centres in the many regional areas of New Zealand.
IRANZ Chairman, Dr John Bright of Aqualinc (left), Prof. Juliet Gerrard, and IRANZ Executive Officer, Dr Rob Whitney. Photo: Louise Thomas.
Understanding and Improving the NZ ETS
September 2018: Motu's Catherine Leining writes about New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme at Sciblogs. Sciblogs brings together the best science bloggers in the country on one website, creating a hub for scientific analysis and discussion and facilitating reader interaction.
Researchers from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research have published a new Guide to the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. This guide covers the basics of how emissions trading works and discusses the core design features in operation today and how and why they have evolved over time. The release of this guide coincides with the start of a new round of government consultation on amending the NZ ETS.
Catherine's work at Motu focuses on shaping a low-emission future for New Zealand and the evolution of emissions trading in New Zealand and internationally. Photo: Motu.
PIPPA aims to crack the asthma case
September 2018: The Medical Research Institute (MRINZ) has teamed up with Auckland and Middlemore hospitals in a HRC-funded PIPPA Tamariki project to assess whether the use of paracetamol or ibuprofen for fever or pain in infancy affects the rates of asthma in children. They aim to recruit 4,000 newborn babies in the next four years.
"Illnesses with a fever can increase the risk of developing asthma in young children. Conversely, using fever medicines, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, may also increase asthma risk, but this is not known for sure," says MRINZ Principle Investigator Dr Irene Braithwaite.
To help crack the case, PIPPA's team are currently recruiting babies in Wellington, Auckland, and Middlemore hospitals.
The PIPPA Tamariki project involves collaborations between the Auckland, Counties Manukau, and Capital & Coast District Health Boards as well as Auckland University, Otago University, Massey University, the University of Calgary, and MRINZ.
NASA Internship Programme
August 2018: New Zealand tertiary students will be offered the chance to participate in NASA’s International Internships Programme, under an agreement between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and NASA.
Dr Delwyn Moller, Centre for Space Science Technology's (CSST) Director of Research, helped announce New Zealand's involvement in the NASA programme at a launch event at the Carter Observatory in Wellington on 27 August.
Follow the link below for the RNZ report on the launch event.
Dr Delwyn Moller, CSST's Director of Research, is thrilled about NASA's new venture for young Kiwis
BRANZ: Designing out greenhouse gases
August 2018: The latest issue of BRANZ's build magazine explains how a life cycle assessment tool, LCAQuick, developed by BRANZ calculates the climate change and environmental impact of a building design, showing hotspots and causes. It’s an easy way for designers to work out how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a building.
Malaghan Institute: The latest science on allergic reactions
August 2018: Malaghan Institute's Professor Franca Ronchese spoke to Noelle McCarthy on RNZ about the science behind developing an allergy, and what we can do to try and interrupt it.
Prof Ronchese is head of the immune cell biology programme at the Malaghan Institute, and specialises in dendritric cells.
"In allergies ... our body is trying to fight infection and it's trying to fight something it thinks is dangerous and can affect our health.
"For some reason, allergens - which are not dangerous, because pollens, and so on, do not really have an effect on our body - are mistaken for something that needs to be fought."
‘Musseling Up’ clinical trial aims to provide facts about shellfish benefits
August 2018: The Cawthron Institute, Christchurch Clinical Studies Trust (CCST), and Sanford Limited have joined forces to identify and validate the health benefits of Greenshell mussels, in particular looking at potential anti-inflammatory qualities, improved joint and bone health, and increased mobility.
Mackie Research: Transforming Māngere and residents' lives for the better
August 2018: New road layouts in a South Auckland suburb are slowing cars and getting more people pounding the pavement says a recent NZ Herald article by Vaimoana Tapaleao.
The Te Ara Mua Future Streets project, in Māngere, has brought in a number of changes in road infrastructure in the area in the last few years; created in a bid to better road conditions for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike. Hamish Mackie, of Mackie Research and Consulting, is the project leader. He has been involved in monitoring the changing behaviours since the different infrastructures were put in place.
"People like the look and feel of it. They like the pedestrian crossings, they like the wider footpaths, the shared paths and some of the cultural references."
Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities reveals research focus
August 2018: Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) - Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamāhorahora - has announced the key themes of their research in the year ahead. Continuing to address New Zealand’s housing needs, the National Science Challenge is digging deeper into housing for our ageing population and how we can build spaces for generations. It is also investigating the delivery of more affordable, healthy homes and the development of attractive urban environments with smart, safe, walkable streets. Thriving regions are also at the forefront of upcoming research, identifying how we can plan and build homes, towns and cities that create strong communities.
Photo: Louise Thomas
CSST taps Planet for daily imagery to spur economic growth in New Zealand
August 2018: The Centre for Space Science Technology has announced an exciting new venture with Planet, an integrated aerospace and data analytics company, to help drive regional economic growth in New Zealand by distributing Planet’s daily, global Earth observation data and analytics.
Signs of water pooling on glaciers in Tibet (left) preceded a pair of avalanches (right). Image: Planet Labs Inc.
HERA helps get new floor product ComFlor SR off the ground
August 2018: HERA has helped their member Steel & Tube create a new product range for flooring in
Lincoln Ag: reducing nitrate leaching on the farm
August 2018: Lincoln Agritech has recently been awarded two three-year Ministry of Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) contracts to investigate the use of catch crops to reduce nitrate leaching; and assess the feasibility of using optical sensors for nitrogen fertilised dairy pastures. The first project builds on research by Dr Peter Carey at Lincoln University and aims to upscale this applied research into working winter crop rotations in Canterbury and Southland. The second project will assess using optical sensors for biomass and N-status monitoring in pastures. Both projects will ultimately lead to improved N-use efficiency on dairy farms and reduced nitrate leaching.
Changes at Opus Research
August 2018: In December 2017, Opus International Consultants was acquired by a leading global infrastructure consultancy firm WSP and has recently been rebranded as WSP Opus, with the research division becoming WSP Opus Research.
In their latest InTouch newsletter, Wendy Turvey WSP Opus Research Business Manager said the move has greatly broadened the research division’s capacity to become involved with exciting and innovative projects. “As part of an organisation of 43,000 minds operating across 40 countries, we are now better placed than ever to benefit our clients through increased ease of access to international best-practice skills, technologies and innovations across the spectrum of professional infrastructure expertise.
Breast cancer research investigating vaccines to prevent relapse
August 2018: The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research’s cancer immunotherapy team has been given the green light to investigate new potential vaccines for breast cancer thanks to a Health Research Council (HRC), Breast Cancer Cure and Breast Cancer Foundation NZ grant.
The research, led by Dr Robert Weinkove, Clinical Director at the Malaghan Institute, will focus on new classes of cancer vaccines, which aim to target the disease.
New science platforms at IROs
July 2018: New six-year strategic science platforms have been established at the Cawthron Institute to support research to improve the performance of New Zealand's seafood safety and shellfish aquaculture, and at the Leather and Shoe Research Association (LASRA) to support hide and skin processing industries. These science platforms are part of the Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF), supporting programmes and infrastructure of enduring importance to
Aqualinc irrigation research shows nitrogen leaching can be reduced
July 2018: Significant reductions to nitrogen (N) leaching can be achieved by changing irrigation management practices, and new research has demonstrated just how big those benefits can be.
A study led by Dr John Bright, Director Research and Development at Aqualinc Research Ltd, and funded by the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand, has shown that it is possible to achieve an average of 27% reduction in N loss. The researchers experimented with a different approach than the current practice of irrigating if the soil moisture content drops below 50% of its ‘plant available’ water.
The latest from BRANZ on YouTube
June 2018: BRANZ has an extensive library of building research videos on YouTube. The latest offerings are The Building Envelope and WUFI. Stephen McNeil, BR
Too much oxygen can kill says MRINZ researcher
June 2018: MRINZ intensive care specialist, Dr Paul Young, has featured in several newspaper and television stories this month, after a paper he co-authored said that liberal administration of oxygen increased the risk of in-hospital patient death by 21 per cent - an estimated one additional death for every 71 patients.
It has long been believed there is no such thing as too much oxygen for very ill patients, but the study, published in prestigious medical journal The Lancet, says otherwise. Dr Young said the Medical Research Institute's findings proved, for the first time, there was such a thing as too much oxygen.
IRANZ welcomes Malaghan Institute
June 2018: IRANZ welcomes the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research. The Malaghan Institute has an international reputation as a leading independent biomedical research and training facility, contributing new scientific discoveries and innovative research to be applied for a whole range of human diseases. Their researchers believe the key to fighting disease lies in harnessing the immune system, the body’s own natural defence. Their pioneering research programmes focus on immunotherapy, gut immunology and cell biology to seek better treatments for diseases affecting people worldwide – including cancer, asthma and allergy, multiple sclerosis and infectious diseases.
Image: In a
Ongoing commitment brings depth and breadth to independent health research
June 2018: A robust review of independent research organisations (IROs) receiving funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) has driven home the benefits of long-term stable investment in health research. The mid-term review that’s just taken place was part of a seven-year agreement between the HRC and four IROs. These are organisations that are recognised by the government for doing work that’s nationally significant and deserving of more stable backing. The IROs include IRANZ members the Malaghan Institute and the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand.
Cawthron innovation delivers more accurate results faster
June 2018: Cawthron Analytical Services are leading the way in the freshwater testing space by developing methods that deliver more accurate results with faster turnaround times.
“Environmental data is hugely important to local government and we’re seeing ever-greater demand for our laboratory services” says Catherine Moisan, Cawthron’s Natural Toxins Section Head. Because toxic algae present a public health risk and testing for freshwater toxins is complex, innovations that deliver results more quickly are well received.
Aqualinc research shows groundwater’s contribution to ChCh’s liquefaction
June 2018: Dr Helen Rutter, Aqualinc’s
CSST space hackathon reimagines tech
June 2018: The ActInSpace NZ competition to reimagine existing space technology and data into new applications was deemed a tremendous success by organisers, Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST). Nine teams made up of 42 people presented new space technology ideas after 24 hours of furious coding, planning, and pitching.
New minerals institute CEO seeks industry input
June 2018: The new Chief Executive of the New Zealand Institute for Minerals to Materials Research (NZIMMR), Tony Hogg, takes up the role this month after returning to his home in Greymouth. He will be working from Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s Greymouth campus, where the NZIMMR is based.
He says his first job will be visiting mines and discussing their research needs. He wants to find out what problems mining operators have and how NZIMMR can help fix them.
TiDA fuels appetite for metal 3D printing
June 2018: The global metal additive manufacturing (AM) market is developing at a furious pace, as costs come down and production speed increases. Metal 3D printing in the prototyping and ramp-up phases of product development is becoming increasingly common, and the transition from prototype through niche and into low volume production has become substantially easier. As AM technologies develop and proliferate it has become suited to the needs of a wider range of small-to-medium-enterprise companies in
As well as continuing research into titanium alloys and powder metallurgy, including high-end Selective Laser Melting (SLM) 3D printing, TiDA is supporting
Lincoln Agritech heralding workforce robots
June 2018: Robots that work alongside people in factories and unforgiving outdoors environments are an increasingly likely scenario. Lincoln Agritech is helping to create this reality and is taking part in Robotic Spearhead, a $2 million project funded by the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge examining how next-generation robots can work with humans in a safe and flexible manner.
“We will advance the science required for a new generation of industrial robotic solutions,” says Lincoln Agritech Group Manager in Precision Agriculture, Dr Armin Werner.
24 times return on investment from HERA's Welding Centre
June 2018: If you’re a user of HERA’s New Zealand Welding Centre (NZWC) you’ll have a good idea of the value of this service. HERA has done the sums and calculated that the industry levy from welding consumables gives a conservative return of investment of more than 24 times what is invested. In other words, for every industry levy dollar, $24 in value is created.
Local students experience real life aquaculture science
May 2018: Testing the effect of caffeine on shellfish isn't a typical science lesson for most Year 13 students. But for 150 Nelson secondary biology students, experiments on mussels have been on the menu at workshops at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park.
Health and safety focus for HERA
April 2018: April has seen a new focus on health and safety for HERA. With a new CEO, Dr Troy Coyle, at the helm, the philosophy has become that health and safety should be seen as ‘the way things are done’, not ‘a task on a list’.
Comms manager Kim Nugent writes that a good safety culture in a business often dictates how engaged an employee is. It also works to attract, motivate and retain good workers as well. "Steps taken to embed safety into the culture of any business is varied – but what is clear, is that it must be led from the top."
Suzi Kerr appointed to Interim Climate Change Commission
April 2018: Motu Senior Fellow, Dr Suzi Kerr has been appointed to the Interim Climate Change Committee. The Committee's goal is getting
Dr Kerr is currently a Senior Fellow at Motu, a Principal Investigator in Te Punaha Matatini, a centre of research excellence focused on networks and complex systems, and an Adjunct Professor at
Coping in the face of climate change
April 2018: A report released by the Deep South National Science Challenge, Communities and climate change: Vulnerability to rising seas and more frequent flooding, highlights key gaps in our collective understanding about how climate change will impact New Zealand’s diverse communities. In the coming decades, more and more communities will be exposed to flooding and coastal erosion made worse by climate change.
Dr Suzi Kerr, Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and the leader of the Deep South Challenge’s Impacts and Implications programme said the report emerged out of a Deep South Challenge Dialogue. “The dialogue process creates conditions in which participants learn from one another, come to a common understanding, and innovate together . . . the issues are discussed honestly and in depth. Group discussion and thinking can progress and converge, rather than be subject to a polarised debate that solidifies existing views and positions.”
Image: Dave Allen, NIWA
Creating a better NZ through R&D tax credits
March 2018: "We want to create a better
The Minister met with a packed room of Independent Research Organisation representatives in
"The big thing in the science portfolio is the coalition agreement to lift R&D to 2% of GDP over a period of ten years. This won’t be all government investment in R&D; it obviously requires a substantial uplift in business investment in R&D as well."
Cawthron: Seafood safety
March 2018: In 1993,
Cawthron Research Scientist Dr Lincoln Mackenzie recognised in the early 1980’s that algal blooms and their associated biotoxins were an issue around the world and specialised in marine harmful algal blooms in the
Motu: Migrants, productivity, and the construction sector
March 2018: With plans for building 100,000 new homes over the next ten years, construction is a sector at the heart of questions about
New research from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research finds that the construction sector is very dynamic, with lots of staff changing firms and many firms entering and exiting the industry.
“Among those employed in the construction sector, fewer than 40 percent of people held the same job four years before a specific date and only around 40 percent held the same job four years after,” said Adam Jaffe, Senior Research Associate at Motu.
CSST partnership to bring AIS data to the Pacific
March 2018: Following hard on the heels of the news that award-winning NASA scientist Dr Delwyn Moller has been appointed as CSST’s Director of Research, the Centre for Space Science Technology has announced a partnership with Spire Global Inc., a leading space-to-cloud data analytics company, to help both organisations further extend their impact in the South Pacific region.
CSST is planning to use Spire’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) data, collected from its ever increasing constellation of satellites, to improve maritime situational awareness throughout the
Learnings from Canterbury
March 2018: BR
Young NZ researchers making an impact on the world stage
March 2018: Two young
Ethan’s award-winning research topic is an area of great practical interest for the leather industry: “What makes leather stronger? A mechanistic study on the effect of natural/artificial cross-links on tensile strength using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS)”. From this research project, mechanisms which directly contribute to the production of strong leather will be established. Also, as important as the strength of leather, the project will help the leather industry understand the role of mineral tannages on physical properties and so help to find environment-friendly alternatives with equivalent effects.
Malaghan Institute of Medical Research: securing medical discovery in New Zealand
March 2018: A major challenge for New Zealand-made biomedical discoveries is making the pivotal leap from laboratory to the market, where they become available to the benefit of the wider community.
By opening up a new discovery area in chemical-immunology the Malaghan Institute and the Ferrier Institute are using their combined skills to build innovative new molecules for use in therapy. With the Malaghan’s HRC IRO-funded research into the workings of the human immune system, medical scientists at Malaghan are able to create a portfolio of promising therapies for a range of different diseases.
LASRA’s pioneering work on collagen provides better understanding of leather
March 2018: LASRA leather researchers have developed a novel method to quantify ‘collagen crosslinks’ using mass spectrometry and have established a super-sensitive method for amino acid analysis. They have found that collagen crosslinks have a strong correlation to skin and leather strength and that amino acids are excellent indicators for the monitoring and optimisation of established leather processing protocols.
Lincoln Agritech in Antarctica
March 2018: "Doing field work in
Lincoln Agritech’s Sensing Technologies team has been assisting the University of Canterbury with a subcontract delivering to the Deep South National Science Challenge. The project aims to enhance our understanding of weather systems and processes underlying climate change using 4D drones to monitor cloud and snow formation.
HERA: Kaikoura earthquake challenges met by steel construction
March 2018: The magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake struck the North-Eastern region of the
The ground shaking resulted in between 80,000 and 100,000 landslides which blocked the coastal road and rail route to Kaikoura. There were also two fatalities attributed to this event.
Post-Kaikoura earthquake, little was mentioned about systemic failures in steel construction. HERA’s General Manager Structural Systems Dr Stephen Hicks said that while this gave them confidence that most structures performed well, they wanted to make sure, so took the opportunity to commission research to pinpoint any weaknesses in New Zealand’s steel constructions.
The recently published research confirmed there were no serious problems; however, several recommendations in the report will further improve steel construction performance in severe earthquake events.
Cawthron research to optimise king salmon production
March 2018: King salmon is a premium quality salmon with superior levels of healthy Omega-3s. It’s no surprise it’s in demand. Our King salmon industry exports to over 30 countries, employs hundreds of Kiwis, and in 2016 earned nearly $130 million in revenue. Working closely with the industry, scientists at Nelson’s Cawthron Institute have set out to increase our understanding of king salmon biology to optimise production. With three sizable research projects looking at various elements of king salmon production, as well as extensive infrastructure investment in a purpose-built multi-million-dollar salmon research facility.
Award-winning NASA scientist appointed as Director of Research
January 2018: Steve Cotter, CSST CEO, has announced the appointment of Delwyn Moller, PhD, as CSST’s Director of Research. Dr Moller was born and raised in the Waikato and studied at the University of Auckland before undertaking her PhD at the University of Massachusetts. She went on to design and implement technology for NASA space missions.
Throughout her career, Dr Moller has developed innovative state-of-the-art remote sensing systems for measuring critical aspects of the Earth’s surface to support science, research and applied sciences with applications ranging from mapping ocean currents, ice-surface topography, surface water hydrology, snow depth mapping and soil moisture retrieval.
She will be moving to Central Otago from Los Angeles, CA with her husband and two children.
Unfinished Business: NY honouree Garth Carnaby aims to save the wool industry
January 2018: IRANZ would like to congratulate Dr Garth Carnaby on his Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit award in the New Year’s Honours List. A former President of the Royal Society of New Zealand and Chairman of the Marsden Fund, Dr Carnaby was Managing Director of the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand from 1992 which became Canesis Network Limited and then merged into AgResearch in 2006. Dr Carnaby is now based at Lincoln University as its "entrepreneur in residence" as he attempts to find new industrial uses for wool. See NY honouree Garth Carnaby aims to save the wool industry | Stuff.co.nz.