Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Chair & CEO Report

We are pleased to present Landcare Research’s Statement of Corporate Intent (SCI) for the period 2016–21. This sets out how we will contribute to our shareholders’ and customers’ goals. Landcare Research’s expertise is aligned strongly with the needs of the public sector. Increasingly, we are using that expertise to add value to organisations in the primary sector and Māori entities. This SCI represents a drive to a more dynamic and responsive role across sectors based on excellent and relevant science.

Contributing to government priorities

Landcare Research provides science and innovation that complement good public sector policy in achieving positive outcomes for New Zealand. We will continue to align our work closely with the government’s priorities laid out in the Business Growth Agenda and the National Statement of Science Innovation (2015–2025). In particular, we will enhance our ability to support the Natural Resources and Innovation goals, which include biodiversity protection and maximising land productivity while reducing environmental effects.

We will increase our focus on regional development opportunities and challenges. In doing so, we will meet the rising demands of government agencies for insights and tools that integrate policy and regulation. This demand isboth at catchment and regional scales and also across research disciplines and timescales. We will build on our current initiatives across many regions from Northland to Southland. We will meet increasing demands for science and innovation to support the national water reforms. We will continue to co-lead the implementation of a national strategy for soils, on which our economy depends heavily and which are both vulnerable and poorly understood. We will also continue to support collaborative predator control, biodiversity restoration and species conservation initiatives at landscape-scale.

Our distinctive ability to integrate environmental, cultural and economic aspects of development enables us to contribute to the holistic approach taken by Māori to long-term, sustainable development. Our long-term relationships with Māori organisations provide a foundation on which we are successfully building new relationships and capacity to support Māori development.

We are proud to host the New Zealand Biological Heritage National Science Challenge and are committed to its success in leading a reversal in the decline of our nation’s biological heritage. Our science and innovation will support an increasing number of regional and national bio-heritage initiatives, through better understanding risks and providing more effective management tools.We manage seven Nationally Significant Collections and Databases that provide an increasingly important foundation for natural resources management. We will continue to enhance the value derived from these assets in achieving economic and environmental goals, and we will create new pathways for gaining the financial support needed to maximise the benefit of these assets. One such pathway is the Manaaki Whenua Research Trust, which we have established to support both research and research assets such as the national Collections and Databases that Landcare Research is custodian for on behalf of all New Zealanders. The Trust will provide a pathway for both the public and philanthropists to become involved personally in our science, building upon our knowledge, assets and existing projects. The Trust’s patron is Sir Rob Fenwick, a former Chair of Landcare Research.

Results and impact focus

A significant focus in science sectors globally is on enhancing the impact of science and its visibility, and measuring its contribution. Landcare Research will invest to achieve these goals through our own strategic efforts to increase communication, knowledge and technology transfer. We will build on a strong track record of making data accessible and helping to shape and adopt international best practice.

Landcare Research is presently in the top 10% of research institutes globally for its science excellence in nine of the thirteen major areas of its science, measured by publication impact. We aspire to be in the top 10% for all areas of our science, including those areas where we are building new capability to meet changing needs in New Zealand. We will grow our collaborations with the most successful institutes.

We aim to transform the value of our science to its users and will implement the findings of our recent study of value. This includes changing how and when we engage users and will build on our capacity to integrate different disciplines and tools to address complex issues and needs.

Our contribution is founded on excellent science across the spectra from exploratory to applied and from insight to innovation. We will continuously strengthen partnerships to complement our capacity. This will include a greater focus on involving the public through ‘citizen science’ initiatives.

Our MBIE Strategic Funding will be invested across our target outcomes and the priorities of science excellence and impact. The profile of our investment will evolve in this last year (2016–17) of the current model of MBIE Strategic Funding, to ensure that New Zealand has science capacity in areas of future national need. We will also invest to provide a reliable foundation for our scientists to achieve excellence, and from which they can grow the close relationships with stakeholders that ensure science impact. 

Working with others

The National Science Challenges are an important vehicle for the vision, leadership and coordination between agencies in the pursuit of national goals. Similarly, the Lincoln Hub is a new collaborative model to accelerate science, innovation and progress in the primary sector. Both models represent strategic investments by Landcare Research at Board and executive levels to transform the way in which New Zealand science makes a difference. We are committed to the success of these initiatives and will ensure that infrastructure development being planned for our Lincoln site enhances the success of both the Hub and the two major Challenges centred at Lincoln (NZ Biological Heritage and Our Land & Water).

Increasingly, the intellectual property that we generate from our science is of value overseas. Examples include materials from our biological Collections, technology needed by agricultural enterprises, and the certification programmes in Enviro-Mark Solutions Ltd. Accordingly, we will work more closely with the Government-2-Government initiative, NZTE, Te Hono (a primary sector initiative), KiwiNet and Callaghan Innovation to ensure our intellectual property supports New Zealand economic growth.

Performance improvement

We are implementing changes to the way science is carried out, the way we collaborate with other organisations, and the way in which we interact with and transfer technology to our stakeholders. There is a significant leadership role and cultural dimension to these changes, especially in respect of collaboration with the users of our science, and we will continue to invest in these needs. Asset investment is also critical to our effectiveness, and our planned investment at the Lincoln site will facilitate new ways of working and collaborating, especially within the Lincoln Hub environment. Through Science New Zealand we will work to share resources and increase efficiency.

Sustainability is central to our business. Our contribution is largely through the impact of our science in New Zealand and overseas. Sustainability is also a core principle in our corporate development and it has important social aspects. Health and safety are paramount in our business, which has staff working in remote locations and in laboratories, and also operating in a business environment that is characterised by complexity and uncertainty. The well-being of our staff is a major focus of our Board and Executive, especially as our staff face change and uncertainty. We will continue to invest to support staff through our Track-Suit © wellness programme and to achieve continuous performance improvement through staff training, processes and infrastructure.

Signed Jane Taylor
Jane Taylor
Signed Richard Gordon
Dr Richard Gordon
Chief Executive