IRANZ news briefs
Welcome to new member DigiLab
Formed in late 2023 from Verum Group's bioacoustics monitoring team, DigiLab is an artificial intelligence company focused on bioacoustics and ecology. There is a global need to monitor animal populations and quantify biodiversity. DigiLab is the world’s first bioacoustic laboratory working in a similar way to a genetic lab, where an acoustic diversity sample is collected by the user and sent to the laboratory for analysis. This laboratory is currently using New Zealand as a testing ground, with bioacoustic studies of great spotted kiwi/ roroa and other native species. They intend to extend the technology to the rest of the world.
They haven’t quite got their new website up and running, but watch this space.
Gillies McIndoe: Leadership role changes
Gillies McIndoe recently announced leadership role changes at the institute and the Gillies McIndoe Foundation. With a focus on promoting internal talent and recognising expertise, Dr Clint Gray, previously Chief Scientist, has been appointed Director of Gillies McIndoe, with Founder Dr Swee Tan becoming Chair of the Gillies McIndoe Board, and Paul Baines, the Chair of the Foundation. These changes bring an evolving perspective to the Institute’s and the Foundation’s strategic direction.
Gillies McIndoe: Expanding team
Along with several other staff changes, Dr Madeleine (Maddie) White is the inaugural Strategic Partnership Manager at Gillies McIndoe. Maddie has already extended relationships with key stakeholders such as AFT Pharmaceuticals, Massey Ventures, and the broader science innovation network. She is eager to strengthen connections further, and foster partnerships with the wider scientific community to achieve better healthcare impact. Maddie also supervises some of our scientists; new Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Alex Chan and new PhD students, Raka Mitra and Jasmine (Jaz) White. This expands her overall research focus to better understanding strawberry birthmark (infantile haemangioma), glioblastoma and investigating improved topical treatments for keloid disorder.
Aqualinc: Nitrates in Groundwater and Impacts of Climate Change
Dr Helen Rutter presented at the Water New Zealand Conference in Wellington on 18 October. She delivered a paper on Nitrates in Groundwater and Impacts of Climate Change. Writing about the issue prior to the election, Helen wrote that none of the political parties mentions the impacts of climate change on fresh water or drinking water “which (on the face of it) may not seem relevant, but droughts alternating with floods can increase the risks of both nitrates being stored then leached into groundwater, and also increase the risk of microbial contamination (e.g. Havelock North). There is also, worryingly, an apparent lack of recognition of the fact that freshwater (i.e. river/lake) water quality has separate issues to drinking water quality, and there are different tools and policies to try and drive improvement”.
Aqualinc announces sale of neutron probe business to staff
Aqualinc is selling its neutron probe business in the North Island and in North Canterbury to two of its Irrigation Management Area Managers.
Cawthron: Nayland student excels at Scitec Expo
Nayland College student Keshia Linyard has won both the Supreme Science and Supreme Art Awards over 270 other entrants at this year’s Cawthron Scitec Expo.
Making her feat even more remarkable, this is the second year in a row that the Year 10 student has won the Scitec Supreme Art Award. Keshia entered two separate projects that were judged against all other entries, from students in Years 1- 13, to win her awards this year.
WSP / University of Canterbury-led digital twin wins innovation award
A collaborative ‘digital twin’ proof-of-concept between WSP, University of Canterbury, and Christchurch City Council has just been recognised at the 2023 TEFMA Clever Campus Awards – picking up an award for innovation.
In a partnership between the three organisations, a stretch of the Waiutuutu / Okeover Stream that crosses the University campus was kitted out with sensors that measured dissolved oxygen, water clarity, pH, conductivity, water level, and flow rate.
Data collected was fed into a proof-of-concept digital twin that visualised the stream and its surrounding environment. WSP provided technical advice and supplied the sensor technology.
Lincoln Agritech: Road asset management technology finalist in KiwiNet Awards
A venture-backed business based on electromagnetic sensing technology developed by Lincoln Agritech and WNT Ventures is a finalist in this year’s KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards.
TDRI looks set to revolutionise road maintenance, by identifying subsurface moisture issues before they cause potholes or other road deterioration.
Bragato: Welcome to Braden Crosby
Braden Crosby has joined the Bragato Research Institute as the Knowledge Transfer and Engagement Leader.
His role is to facilitate two-way engagement with grape growers and winemakers and lead the transfer of knowledge generated by research to our viticulture and winemaking communities.
Malaghan: Allergy development and the importance of fundamental research
Marie-Sophie Fabre is a Senior Research Officer in Dr Olivier Lamiable’s team in the Ronchese Laboratory. Her research aims to understand the changes that occur when immune cells encounter allergens, laying the foundations for understanding allergy development.
TTW visits Kew Gardens
Team members from Te Tira Whakamātaki (an independent Māori environmental and research organisation) attended the International Congress of Plant Pathology in Lyon, France. Although the ICPP has a very strong biophysical focus, the presentation and session was well attended by conference participants, many of whom have not had a lot of engagement with indigenous knowledge or the issues that affect this body of knowledge, as decision-making is dominated by biophysical research and empirical data.
Date posted: 31 October 2023