Landcare Research has an ongoing programme to upgrade buildings and research infrastructure at our various sites. This is to ensure we have fit-for-purpose facilities to deliver effective research and outcomes in the future, and smart systems and processes to support our people in their work.
At Lincoln (our largest site) we are working closely with our partners in the Lincoln Hub (section 3) to ensure our redevelopment plans are consistent with opportunities for shared infrastructure and access to specialist facilities. Similarly, our other larger sites are located on or near university campuses to facilitate shared access to specialist infrastructure, research collaboration, lecturing and supervising postgraduate students.
Our key priority in 2016/17 is to redevelop aspects of the Lincoln site consistent with the concept of the Lincoln Hub and to provide modern fit-for-purpose facilities for our people. The reconstructed area will be designed to cater for our people, co-located Hub staff and co-creation with science users. The redevelopment will be completed with repurposing for private sector use in mind, should that be appropriate in future.
We will continue to co-locate and support the Biological Heritage Challenge centre and to identify opportunities to further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of resources.
We remain committed to a number of collaborations, such as the National Science Challenges (section 3), Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs), and national and global research consortia, such as collaborative research centres. We also partner in the National eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) (see below).
National eScience Infrastructure (NeSI)
Landcare Research is a partner in the NeSI investment by Government, universities and CRIs to build and operate High Performance Computing facilities. The NeSI enables us to carry out advanced modelling and other ‘big data’ analyses cost-effectively and time-efficiently. It also facilitates collaborations with international researchers. We continue to use the NeSI platform to advance our research and develop applications for end users in a wide range of areas, including environmental and ecosystems management, invasive species, genomics, global change processes, and land information.
Enhancing the value of our Databases and Collections
Landcare Research is custodian of seven of New Zealand’s 25 Nationally Significant Databases and Collections. These are national science assets for the country, some of which have been built up over more than a century. We periodically review Collections policies and infrastructure to ensure they are fit-for-purpose, meet the curatorial standards required to maintain these valuable assets in perpetuity, and support systematics science undertaken by our staff and other researchers across the New Zealand science system.
In recent years, we have made strategic investments to significantly enhance our Collections infrastructure and protect these important national taonga on behalf of New Zealand (e.g. investment in improved temperature and humidity control to meet good practice standards). We are now investing significantly to put Collections’ information and images online in digital format to increase the relevance, impact and reach of our Collections. This will enhance the value of many years of Crown investment in them.
Collection digitisation and biological distribution modelling
‘Digitising’ high-priority insect, plant, fungal and bacterial specimens and associated data from our MBIE Strategic Funding of biological Collections helps safeguard this information for future generations. Putting information online also ensures that New Zealand’s biosecurity and biodiversity agencies can access critical data whenever they need it.
We are investing in online availability of high-definition images, authoritative information on morphological and molecular characterisation, and accurate provenance and identification data derived from our biological Collections. We are also using these online data to develop a real-time species distribution modelling platform to support biosecurity and biodiversity management decisions by policy, regulatory and operational agencies.
The platform will support end users who need predictive information on high-risk biosecurity incursions and to undertake biodiversity risk assessments. It enhances New Zealand’s ability to answer fundamental questions such as, ‘what is this organism?’, ‘how do we recognise it?’, ‘is it a threat or threatened species?’, and ‘where did it come from, when did it arrive, and where might it spread under various scenarios?’