Lincoln University has been named by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce as one of three successful applicants to host a New Zealand-China Research Collaboration Centre, receiving a total of $1.25 million worth of funding over five years.
The New Zealand-China Water Research Centre will be based at the Lincoln Hub, with partners AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research, Lincoln Agritech Ltd, and University of Otago.
The Water Research Centre will coordinate and facilitate long-term collaborations between New Zealand and Chinese scientists to develop research strategies relevant to both countries around water quality and quantity. Issues such as ground and surface water contamination by agrichemicals and poor water use efficiency of irrigation are common in China and New Zealand.
A multidisciplinary team with an outstanding track record both in the scientific disciplines of water research and in collaborating with China has been assembled. Their expertise spans groundwater hydrology, solute and water transport, irrigation management, nutrient losses to waterways, waste management, microbial ecology, water foot-printing and bioinformatics.
The team will be led by Lincoln University Soil and Environmental Science Professor Hong Di. Professor Di has had extensive collaborations with a number of Chinese Institutions. He said that the establishment of the New Zealand-China Water Research Centre is a fantastic opportunity and will provide a huge boost for developing better coordinated and targeted collaborations between New Zealand and Chinese scientists.
The New Zealand-China Water Research Centre will be an important platform for the creation of novel skills and knowledge on water quality and quantity research, the establishment of enduring partnerships, the development of advanced mitigation strategies to reduce water contamination by agrichemicals, increased cultural understanding, enhanced Māori engagement with China, and increased awareness of New Zealand as a centre of excellence in research and development in the areas of water quality and quantity for high quality food production.
The other successful applicants, Massey University and University of Otago, will host a Food Protection Network and a Non-Communicable Diseases Collaboration Centre respectively. Minister Joyce said in a statement that the centres were chosen for their strong and inclusive networks across New Zealand. They will be supported through New Zealand’s Catalyst Fund for international science collaboration.