The National Science Challenge for NZ’s Biological Heritage has approved six new research projects from its latest contestable funding round. Two of them are related to kauri dieback disease, two are concerned with groundwater ecosystems and restoration of streams and waterways, and two are focused on the public – research and development of a customised mobile app to enlist public help in reporting biosecurity threats, and research into public attitudes towards novel ways of getting rid of wasps and rats.
The Challenge, hosted by the Crown Research Institute Landcare Research and established in 2014, has $5M a year to fund research which focuses on reversing the decline in New Zealand’s biodiversity and strengthening New Zealand’s biosecurity systems. It is seeking step change approaches to pest eradication, and to defending New Zealand against biosecurity threats such as the brown marmorated stink bug or myrtle rust, both of which could devastate primary industries in a very short time.
The director of the challenge , Dr Andrea Byrom, a leading pest ecologist, is pleased with the outcome of this round which “has attracted applications from our best scientists, who plan to use the latest technologies and strategies, such as mobile apps and DNA profiling.
Project summaries can be found here.
For further information about the National Science Challenge, see here