Curbing pesticide spray drift / Small stuff is going big / Reducing flood damage to NZ homes / More muscle for NZ mussels / Freeing up water for others / Cities of the future / Healthier urban transport / Kiwi household emissions report / LASRA presents findings at the 2015 IULTCS Congress in Brazil / AGGAT Paper Wins Best Paper Award at NZGW 2015 / Cawthron Foundation launched to address environmental challenges

Late last year, the Government released its vision for New Zealand’s science and technology future in the form of the National Statement of Science Investment. A key part of this vision is to grow business expenditure on research and development to 1 per cent of GDP by 2018, making for a “thriving independent research sector”.

Independent Research Organisations (IRO) are already a vital and unique part of the New Zealand science ecosystem – they are all different and they are a great way of enabling New Zealand to increase high impact research by business, economic sectors and the community. As the IRO’s association, representing the collective interests of members, IRANZ is looking forward to working with government and IRO stakeholders to help realise this vision.

Dr Rob Whitney
IRANZ Executive Officer

Curbing pesticide spray drift

Unwanted agricultural spray drift can cause havoc with the natural ecosystem and nearby crops, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage. New research by Lincoln Agritech’s Chemical Applications, Research and Training (CART) group has been measuring and mapping pesticide spray drift movements and is working hard with other New Zealand researchers, manufacturers and industry to put technologies and procedures in place to mitigate these types of incidents.

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Related link
IRRICAD launches training workshops in China

Pesticide spray drift is an economic and environmental problem. Image: Lincoln Agritech
Small stuff is going big

Nuenz Limited, makers of silicon nitride nanofibres and sub-micron particles, are set to take their products to the world.

Silicon nitride is classed as a technical ceramic, and, after extensive research, Nuenz scientists have shown the fibres and particles they are producing have performance characteristics beyond most other materials – making them the ideal additive or composite ingredient for a range of materials from medical equipment to vehicle and aerospace technology.

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SEM image of F90 silicon nitride nanofibres. Image: Nuenz
Reducing flood damage to NZ homes

The Canterbury Earthquakes aside, the highest number of insurance claims for New Zealand homes is for water and flood damage. With recent extreme weather patterns, such as those causing flooding in Christchurch’s Flockton basin, people want to know how to repair their homes and if using different materials would have had a better outcome.

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Related links
Issue 151: Get the drop on moisture | BRANZ Build
Managing internal moisture - Build 151 - YouTube

A small scale flooded test house - part of the BRANZ research project "Flood It". Photo: Branz.
More muscle for NZ mussel

New Zealand's iconic greenshell mussel is already the heavyweight of our aquaculture exports, now a new science and industry collaboration is set to give it even more muscle.

Cawthron Institute and Sanford Limited have joined forces to identify and validate the health benefits of Greenshell mussels, with an eye on the Chinese market. A particular research focus will be on the mussel's potential anti-inflammatory qualities for improved joint and bone health and increased mobility.


New Zealand's iconic greenshell mussels. Photo: Cawthron.


Freeing up water for others

Catchments, where water has been fully allocated, or, worse, the capacity of the catchment has been exceeded, has recently been the focus of much media attention. New research by Aqualinc shows that irrigating with a focus on optimising a farm’s operating surplus, not maximising production, could be the key to freeing up water for new uses in fully allocated catchments.

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Centre pivot spray irrigation at use on the farm. Photo: Aqualinc.
Cities of the future

Opus recognises that the cities around the world that are getting ‘smart’ right are doing so not because they have invested in a wide range of technology to run and monitor all aspects of day-to-day life, but because they have invested in the right technology, people and businesses to improve life for the people who call their city home.

Cities of the future. Photo: Opus.
Healthier urban travel

Healthier urban transport is the focus of a four year research programme, funded by MBIE, led by Mackie Research and Consulting and TERNZ (Transport Engineering Research NZ) in partnership with other researchers. Building on the successful Self Explaining Roads and current Future Streets projects, “Healthy Future Mobility Solutions” will explore how mobility systems in New Zealand can be future proofed to support health, and enhance social and economic wellbeing in cities and towns.

Healthier urban transport. Photo: Hamish Mackie, Mackie Research and Consulting.
Kiwi household emissions report

Kiwis can start making a serious dent into their greenhouse gas emissions by cutting down on red meat or dairy, using more efficient vehicles, or flying less, according to a new study from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. The research also reveals that households are emitting almost 5 per cent less greenhouse gas than they used to, but that the rise in New Zealand’s population means the total amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere from Kiwi households’ overall consumption is actually increasing.

Prof Ralph Sims, Director, Centre for Energy Research at Massey University, says the report "is an excellent and innovative analysis that confirms why New Zealanders have one of the highest annual greenhouse gas emissions per person in the world. It also identifies where an individual can reduce their carbon footprint in the short term, but without reducing their lifestyle."


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Household Emissions Coverage | Motu
NZ could be leader influencing carbon trade best practice

Composition of emissions graph. Image: Motu.
LASRA presents findings at the 2015 IULTCS Congress in Brazil

Late last year, two LASRA scientists presented details of MBIE-funded research at the 2015 International Union of Leather Technologists and Scientists congress in southern Brazil. The fundamental leather research detailed in the six New Zealand papers included a presentation on how leather fibres deform and interact during wear resulting in different strengths depending on the properties of the individual collagen fibres. 

Image: LASRA.
AGGAT Paper Wins Best Paper Award at NZGW 2015

At the recent NZ Geothermal Workshop held in Taupo, Dr. Haiam Abbas, AGGAT Research Engineer won an award for best paper in Above Ground Technologies. The prize was awarded as this piece of work enhanced fundamental understanding of science and engineering principles in the context of existing above-ground technology. HERA Director Dr Wolfgang Scholz says that HERA (Heavy Engineering Research Association) is fortunate to have such a talented individual in its team.

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Dr. Haiam Abbas. Photo: HERA.


Cawthron Foundation launched to address environmental challenges

Cawthron Institute has launched a charitable foundation to help solve New Zealand's leading environmental challenges.

"Combining the expertise of top scientists at Cawthron with philanthropic support ensures essential research on land and in fresh water and marine environments is maintained as support from other sources waxes and wanes according to political priorities. The health and wealth of our natural environment, communities, business and region ultimately depends on it," says Dr Morgan Williams, Chair of the foundation's independent trust board.

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Clean, safe freshwater will be a key focus for the Cawthron Foundation. Photo: Darryl Torckler /Cawthron.

IRANZ is an association of independent research organisations. Its members undertake scientific research, development or technology transfer. Members include Aqualinc Research Ltd, BRANZ, Cawthron Institute, CRL Energy Ltd, Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA), Leather & Shoe Research Association (LASRA), Lincoln Agritech Ltd, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, Opus Central Laboratories, Titanium Industry Development Association Ltd (TiDA Ltd) and Transport Engineering Research NZ Ltd (TERNZ).

Contact: Dr Rob Whitney, Executive Officer, mobile: +64 27 2921050, email:

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