IRANZ news briefs
PM Opens Cawthron’s new research centre
The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern opened the new Cawthron National Algae Research Centre on 27 May. The new centre will enable the expansion of Cawthron’s algae research and support the establishment of an exciting new industry in New Zealand.
Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Volker Kuntzsch says there is growing global demand for algae-based products and solutions. Globally seaweed represents almost a third of aquaculture production volume, with a value of US$14 billion.
“From the extraction of bioactive compounds from microalgae for high-value pharmaceutical products, through to ‘methane busting’ seaweed, there are enormous possibilities for a thriving New Zealand algae sector,” said Kuntzsch.
Based at Cawthron’s Aquaculture Park near Nelson, the first stage of the Centre at this site will predominantly focus on macroalgae (seaweed), which is poised to become the third pillar of the New Zealand aquaculture sector alongside shellfish and finfish.
Malaghan Institute head recognised for world-class contribution
Director of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research Professor Graham Le Gros has been named a KEA World Class New Zealander.
In receiving his award Prof Le Gros, said that he could only accept it on behalf of the many great scientists who have driven, prodded, cajoled, educated, supported and even disagreed with him on occasion – people from all over the world.
“We think we’re small, we think we don’t count scientifically. But the research we do here in New Zealand really counts.”
Wolfgang Scholz awarded Honorary Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit
Dr Wolfgang Scholz, the former Director of HERA, was conferred as an Honorary Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday honours for services to engineering and metals-based industry.
Receiving the honour, Wolfgang was recognised for his 35 years of contribution to the New Zealand and global metals-based industry. Highlighted was his works to set up the New Zealand Welding Centre in 1987 as a division of HERA, the delivery of crucial education and research of excellence for welding engineering, technical guideline and standards development, and his focus to strengthen the competitiveness of the industry.
Wolfgang is now Chair and Board member of HERA Certification Ltd, and Trustee and Secretary Treasurer of the HERA Foundation. As HERA Director, Wolfgang was a valued contributor to IRANZ and its predecessor the Research Associations Coordinating Committee.
Developments at Bragato
Jeffrey Clarke, General Manager Advocacy & General Counsel at New Zealand Winegrowers, has been appointed as CEO for the Bragato Research Institute. Mr Clarke took up the role on an interim basis in early April, allowing for departing chief executive MJ Loza to undertake a comprehensive handover.
“I’m thrilled by the opportunity to help lead BRI at this exciting stage of its growth. We have an opportunity to consolidate our great start with exciting new programmes, deepening our relationships with the research community to deliver meaningful impact to winegrowers throughout New Zealand,” says Mr Clarke.
BRI welcomes Dr David Armour to its team of Programme Managers. David’s focus is working with BRI’s research partners to manage two of the industry’s key research programmes: Vineyard Ecosystems, examining how vineyard management practices can enhance biodiversity and improve grapevine performance; and looking at Pinot Noir quality and productivity.
Malaghan cytometry expert appointed to international leadership programme
Malaghan Institute cytometry specialist and Deputy Manager of the Hugh Green Cytometry Centre Dr Laura Ferrer-Font has been appointed to the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry’s Shared Resource Lab (ISAC SRL) Emerging Leader Programme. The four-year programme is designed to enhance and develop the next generation of leaders in the field of cytometry.
MRINZ trials win five Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) 2021 Awards
The MRINZ received extraordinary recognition at the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) 2021 Trial of the Year Awards, announced in Melbourne on 20 May (International Clinical Trials Day). The MRINZ played a senior role in three clinical trials: PEPTIC Study, REMAP-CAP Study and PNEUMOTHORAX Study, which won five of the seven 2021 ACTA Awards.
Cawthron Institute exhibition opens at Nelson Provincial Museum
An exhibition, called ‘Our Science, Our Future – 100 years of Cawthron’, opened on 27 May as part of the Cawthron Institute’s 100 year celebrations. An underwater world with life-sized marine mammals, a kelp forest, the intriguing possibilities of algae and an operational monitoring buoy are some of the things people will get to explore at the Nelson Provincial Museum’s new Cawthron exhibition.
TTW CEO Melanie Mark-Shadbolt – Changing governance systems: Biodiversity Instruments Launch
TTW CEO Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, who is also the Kaihautū Ngātahi for the Bioheritage National Science Challenge, presented at the Wellington launch of the Biodiversity Instruments Report. The Bioheritage National Science Challenge and the Adaptive Governance & Policy Team (S07) commissioned Climate Innovation Lab to identify the potential for innovative finance and funding mechanisms to support biodiversity protection and co-governance under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The report identifies and discusses a range of opportunities for climate focussed investments and complementary policies that preserve, support, and expand Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique biological heritage.
Te Pūtahitanga: A Tiriti–led science-policy approach for Aotearoa New Zealand
IRANZ member Te Tira Whakamātaki was a sponsor of a recent publication, Te Pūtahitanga, co-authored by TTW CEO and Cofounder Melanie Mark-Shadbolt. The report inspects the interface between science and policymaking and calls for a policy approach that is enabled by, and responsive to, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Mātauranga Māori.
For a science sector to have its greatest reach and impact for all citizens, it must demonstrate relevance, accessibility, and inclusion. In Aotearoa, there has been concern about the exclusion of Māori and Pacific expertise from science advice and key decision-making roles.
Te Tiriti offers a powerful framework for connecting systems and communities of knowledge in ways that are mutually beneficial and future focused. Te Pūtahitanga was written by Māori researchers working across the RSI sector including from Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, the Chief Science Advisor Forum, the Health Research Council, and the National Science Challenges (Rauika Māngai). It has been backed by prominent Māori organisations including the New Zealand Māori Council, the Māori Women’s Welfare League, Te Ohu Kaimoana, Te Kāhui Raraunga, and Te Mana Raraunga Māori Data Sovereignty Network.
PlantTech machine learning talk at Tauranga Techweek
PlantTech Research chief executive Dr Mark Begbie was among the speakers at a Techweek event in Tauranga on 27 May, joining Jono Jones from Bluelab and others who are lively contributors to the Bay of Plenty's talented innovation community. Mark spoke about his experiences of new product introduction and the challenges of incorporating new technologies into the commercial environment, and about the amazing machine learning they're doing within the horticulture industry.
New recruits at Aqualinc
Aqualinc have welcomed two new members of staff recently, with Ed Fairclough joining the Land and Water business unit and Jane Alexander joining the Research and Development business unit. Both are Canterbury University graduates: Ed has recently completed his BE (Hons) in natural resources engineering, and Jane has submitted her PhD thesis in civil engineering. The new team members are contributing to a variety of projects for central Government, councils, and the private sector.
Fletcher Frater, an MSc student from Canterbury University who has previously been a summer intern at Aqualinc, is working on a project, with input from John Bright and Andrew Dark, called ’Optimising the use of multiple water storages under various water supply reliabilities’. This project is funded by a Callaghan Innovation Fellowship.
Lincoln Agritech Welcomes Helen Ashmead
Dr Helen Ashmead recently joined the New Materials Group at Lincoln Agritech where she will focus on the validation, scale-up, and commercialisation of processes developed by the fibre team as part of the New Uses for the Wool project funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Wool Industry Research Ltd (WIRL).
Dr Helen Ashmead is a protein biochemist specialising in protein structure and function, microbiology, microscopy, and process engineering.
Summer Internship at Lincoln Agritech
This summer, the Biotechnology team hosted Emily Cooper (Ngāti Kahungunu / Ngāpuhi), a MSc student, in Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research’s Beyond Myrtle Rust Programme. Emily was introduced to the skills necessary for her MSc project on Rongoā approaches to Myrtle Rust control. Emily worked with Tieghan Anderson (Ngāpuhi), our other summer intern, to optimise growth media for Trichoderma in Lincoln for the first half of their placement and then the second half at the Minginui Nursery working on Trichoderma trials in native cuttings and pine seedlings and on Trichoderma isolation.
Inaugural Mātai intern helps with concussion study
Two years of study in engineering at Canterbury University helped Gisborne’s Adam Donaldson navigate his summer internship with medical imaging research centre Matai Research.
Now in his third year of study in mechatronics — a combination of electronics and mechanical engineering — Adam has completed 10 weeks working as Matai’s first intern.
The computational modelling and impact simulation he was involved in will support the Gisborne-based medical imaging centre’s concussion research.
LASRA hosts first NZ Collagen Symposium
The inaugural New Zealand Collagen Symposium that took place on 24 and 25 March 2021 at the James Cook in Wellington was well attended by both industry and research groups. The Symposium was divided into three themes - Commercialisation and Regulatory Issues, Food and Nutrition, and Industry and Innovation. LASRA CEO Geoff Holmes says that on-going interest post-event is such that he expects this symposium will be the first of many.
Date posted: 18 June 2021