Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Capability and Culture

Our goal is to ensure science capability meets the changing needs of the business and the external environment in which we operate. We focus on the quality of science capability ensuring its integrity and on our ability to attract further high-calibre talent. A significant part of this ensures establishing a high performance culture where ongoing development is supported at all levels. Our values drive a continual focus on health and safety, performance management and development, reward and recognition, internal communications and staff well-being.

Leadership and Bicultural Development 

Following the implementation of a comprehensive leadership development programme in 2015, which focused on building operational and strategic leadership skills, phase two of the programme is now under development.  This phase will concentrate on identifying and developing future leaders and supporting our senior and mid-level leaders to build their external leadership capability. A further focus for 2016 onwards will be on developing our bicultural capability through a comprehensive programme initially focused on staff with Vision Mātauranga objectives in their research projects and later across the wider organisation.;

Good employer 

Our achievements against the seven key elements of being a good employer, as set out by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, is reported on our public website and in our annual report.

Health and Safety 

We continue to promote a healthy work environment for all our employees through our well-being programme. Landcare Research focuses on building a culture where a safe workplace for all workers is a priority. This is achieved through the provision of comprehensive guidelines, training, supervision, mentoring and support to ensure their well-being on-site and in the field. Significant effort continues on ensuring compliance from governance to ‘grass roots’ with the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2016. Further developing our induction practices for all workers will be a focus for the coming year. 

Research excellence and collaboration 

Our scientists are recognised internationally for their research excellence, as evidenced by the number and quality of our publications and extensive co-authorship with overseas colleagues on global issues.
The internationally accepted measure of science excellence is the number of citations from papers published. During the last year, our citations were ranked in the top 16% of research organisations globally with a score equal to that for University of Auckland.;

Within our 13 specialist disciplines, we rank within the top 10% of research organisations globally. For all research organisations and universities in New Zealand, we rank third equal. Our Science Advisory Panel of highly regarded scientists provides valuable guidance and international perspectives. Many of our scientists hold positions on editorial boards of prestigious national and international science journals, and are invited or elected onto national and international panels, advisory boards and technical working groups.

We continue to collaborate with a large number of organisations overseas. Recognition of the excellence and relevance of our contributions at scientific meetings worldwide is highlighted by the number of invitations to our scientists to present keynote papers. 

Landcare Research is a partner in several collaborative research centres, networks and consortia and we are currently contributing our expertise to five National Science Challenges and two Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs). 

Writing scholarships and fellowships

We offer writing scholarships for up to 20 staff, facilitating peer-reviewed, high-quality publications from existing data and reports. For two years, the scholarships have been very successful and we will continue this initiative. We support our scientists to travel overseas to work in prestigious, targeted organisations to encourage development of new ideas. We also support three Post Graduate Scholarships to attract PhD students and grow our capabilities.

Capability planning and development 

The development of Strategy 2017 has provided a focus for a review of our capability needs to support changing client needs. We have assessed science capabilities across Landcare Research in relation to new opportunities, increasing our science excellence and research priorities. This has highlighted critical gaps in our capability, particularly skills and experience working in the primary sector. We will actively address these capability gaps over the next three years through new appointments and training for existing research staff. We also intend to narrow our focus in some low priority areas to enable us to deepen capabilities in high priority areas.

We expect to make 18 new appointments over the next three financial years to fill vacancies in critical research areas resulting from retirements and to increase capability in priority growth areas. To grow opportunities, we will also be appointing new staff with specialist capabilities in the preparation of proposals, knowledge brokering, and development of commercial products and services for the primary sector and other private sector clients.

Science Advisory Panel

The high priority areas for capability growth have been endorsed by our Science Advisory Panel. The Panel comprises active, internationally recognised scientists who are able to provide strategic perspectives on changing global research activities in the context of New Zealand needs (more information about the Panel is available on our website The Panel reviews our research performance and capabilities and provides advice to our Board on the allocation of resources to priority areas.

Links with universities and the Lincoln Hub

We have long worked with universities to grow capabilities and support the training of emerging scientists. We continue our commitment to our joint graduate school with the University of Auckland with five of our scientists holding Professorial or Assistant Professorial part-time roles. We are also contributing to the establishment of a postgraduate school with Lincoln University and other partners in the Lincoln Hub.

The vision is that the Lincoln Hub will attract the most able minds internationally to study and undertake research at Lincoln. The ultimate goal is for shared developments in infrastructure and collaborative research and teaching activity to result in the better management of New Zealand’s land and water resources.