NIWA forges fresh links with US science for future joint projects

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New Zealand scientists with internationally recognised skills will be teaming up with top level American researchers both in the US and New Zealand to find solutions for environmental problems common to both countries.

Plans to establish these project partnership panels follow collaborative working agreements reached between the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and three American scientific institutions.

NIWA Chief Executive Paul Hargreaves said today that agreements with the three US east coast research centres covered collaboration in a number of fields including aquaculture, coastal fisheries, oceanography, coastal and urban water pollution, estuarine ecology, and invasive species.

The American centres are the Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (part of the College of William and Mary), and the University of Connecticut (Marine Sciences Department).

Mr Hargreaves said that achieving solutions to many global and localised environmental problems required world class panels of scientists and research experts with diverse skills.

"But because our Kiwi scientists are now effectively global commodities, as are leading American researchers, none of us individually can afford the variety of scientific expertise or equipment needed to do the job.

"By joining forces, however, we and the US centres are better positioned to assemble the variety of multi-disciplined talent and sophisticated instruments required to solve a growing range of complex issues.

"There is much American interest in NIWA’s research, including that on climate change, toxic algae, coastal water pollution and water way contamination caused by urban waste-water run-off. Research into the movement between national boundaries of invasive species carried in ships’ ballast was also especially relevant to US concerns.

"These agreements open the way for extensive research collaboration that will significantly advance our ability to find solutions to New Zealand and world-wide environmental issues.

"We will be sending our people to join research teams on specific projects in the US, and they will be contributing talent and expertise to our contract work for local authorities, government, and industry.

Mr Hargreaves said NIWA was appreciative of assistance provided by the New Zealand Ambassador to the US, Jim Bolger, and the US Embassy in Wellington toward the successful establishment of the new collaborative arrangements.

For further information:

Paul Hargreaves
Chief Executive
NIWA, Private Bag 99940, Newmarket, Auckland
Tel: +64 9 375 2090
p.hargreaves@niwa.co.nz