Homegrown talent to tackle pesky problems

September 23, 2021 8:29 am

Six of Aotearoa’s brightest young minds are setting out to revolutionise pest management, helping efforts to eradicate possums, stoats and rats from New Zealand by 2050.

Supported by Predator Free 2050 Limited (PF2050 Ltd) and $2.4m from the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, the post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers at Auckland, Canterbury, Lincoln and Otago universities will be researching topics as diverse as genetics, biocontrol, audio lures, and social licence.

“Our work is certainly ambitious, but is a critical step to secure New Zealand’s biodiversity. Despite decades of valuable and dedicated conservation efforts, step-changes are needed to achieve our goals. And to achieve those step-changes, New Zealand needs new science talent to drive the cutting-edge research needed,” PF2050 Ltd Science Director Dan Tompkins says.

“The PF2050 programme has a fair bit of international attention as to whether it can be done. As New Zealand always has, we’re backing our local ingenuity and talent. We’ve deliberately looked for diversity of candidates and a breadth of topics.”

The recently launched PF2050 Ltd research strategy crystallises the outcomes for which breakthroughs are most needed to achieve the PF2050 goals, as well as championing the need for more support for and investment in the science that will most help us achieve them.

“Building new science capability is critical for achieving all of New Zealand’s environmental goals, not just Predator Free. The investments made here will help establish these researchers’ careers, and their skills and accomplishments will be of immense value to New Zealand in the future.”

Predator Free 2050 Limited is a Crown-owned, charitable company established in 2016. It provides co-funding to enable predator control and eradication projects at large landscape scale, and drives the breakthrough science needed to underpin large-scale predator eradication. It plans to contribute around $13m towards breakthrough science during 2020-24, guided by its research strategy.

Meet the post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers

More from News we like