Goal: Landcare Research’s investments in science infrastructure are recognised by scientists as providing excellent science capacity and by Government stakeholders as benefitting New Zealand.
It is too early to be able to quantify financial return on investments through science revenue and demonstrable benefit to New Zealand.
Our investments in science infrastructure are aligned to our Statement of Core Purpose, Outcomes and Impacts, and will lead to signifiant benefit to New Zealand. These investments are strategic and we expected them to bring about a step change over and above ‘business as usual’ in supporting excellent science.
Our staff make significant contributions to the design of facilities ensuring they are fit for purpose and will meet future needs. Where possible (within the constraints of containment requirements) facilities comply with our sustainability principles, e.g. energy- and water-efficiency and environmentally-friendly fit-out.
Allan Herbarium upgrade
We have completed a $1.2m investment project at Lincoln to design and install mechanical systems for temperature and humidity control of the Allan Herbarium and associated offices. Investment includes heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems consistent with international best practice standards to protect the Nationally Significant Plant Collections.
Beever Plant Pathogen Containment Facility
Construction of the custom-designed $2.15m facility is well advanced at our Auckland site. This facility is a first of its kind in New Zealand. It will enable research on unwanted plant pathogens that have breached biosecurity border controls, and host-specific pathogens that have significant potential as biocontrol agents for an escalating weed problem in New Zealand. Until now, New Zealand has had no high-level (beyond PC2) containment facilities for plant pathogen research so the investment has significant potential to benefit the country. The Beever Plant Pathogen Containment Facility is named in memory of scientist Ross Beever.
Greenhouse gas research facilities
This year, we opened our new greenhouse gas research facilities at Lincoln, a $1.6m investment project. The new facilities include significant extensions to laboratories equipped with new state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation. The improved office layout combines open plan with small glass-walled offies to achieve a satisfying blend of quiet and collaborative workspaces for the world-class research group.
New Zealand Arthropod Collection (NZAC)
Part of the collection consists of small specimens stored in ethanol, and these must be kept in a specialist temperature-and light-controlled fire-proof vault. Because NZAC has outgrown existing storage capacity, we extended the existing vault and improved the mechanical ventilation systems. The project was completed in September 2012.
Strengthening buildings & business continuity
Following the devastating Canterbury earthquakes, we commissioned a survey of the structural integrity of our Lincoln buildings. While this showed the buildings are safe to use, the survey identified work needed to improve one building’s performance in a seismic event and bring it up to 100% of the new building standard. This work is well advanced and we are carrying out an internal upgrade at the same time.
To improve business continuity responses, we installed an emergency power generator at our Palmerston North site, and also improved the emergency power supply at Lincoln.