National Science Challenge

About Science Challenges

Eleven National Science Challenges were created in 2014 to answer some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s biggest science questions. The Challenges bring together the country’s top scientists to work collaboratively across disciplines, institutions and borders to achieve their objectives.

In total they were given just over $680 million by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). This was to fund research from 2014 – 2024, with a review period at the end of ‘Tranche 1’ (2014 – 2019).

New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge was allocated $63.7 million of this to facilitate research and impact in the areas of biosecurity and native biodiversity. We are hosted by the Crown Research Institute Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, with our offices in Lincoln, just south of Christchurch.

Leading our mahi (work) are Co-Directors Daniel Patrick and Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, as well as a dedicated Leadership Group.

You can keep up-to-date by checking out our research programmes or following us on social media.

Follow us on social media

You can keep up-to-date by checking out our research programmes or following us on social media.

Our National Science Challenge Programmes

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Freshwater for our Taonga

Te Tiriti-led research looking at how we can enable our freshwater taonga to thrive.
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He Mātai Rangi And Komene With Matamoe

He Mātai i te Taiao

The perpetual examination of the environment
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Developing Possum-specific Poisons

This project has possums in its sights, with researchers using genome mining to develop poisons that will exclusively target this small mammalian predator on a…
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Bioethics Panel

To achieve the vision of Predator Free New Zealand 2050, researchers need to develop novel tools and technologies for cost-effective, landscape-scale control, eradication and surveillance…
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Shining a Light on New Zealand’s Moths

New Zealand has almost 2,000 moth species and students now have the resources to find out a whole lot more about them.
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Adaptive Governance and Policy

This investment tackles the ways in which governance and policy need to change to better protect te taiao (the environment).
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Pathways to Ecosystem Regeneration

Our teams are aiming to quantify social-ecological linkages for use in managing, protecting and restoring land and water ecosystems.
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Novel Tools and Strategies

Novel tools, technologies and strategies need to be deployed to eradicate biotic threats.
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State-of-the-art Surveillance

Automation can improve biosecurity surveillance systems
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He Tangata, He Taiao, He Ōhanga

A values-based biosecurity risk assessment framework for Aotearoa.
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Predicting and Preventing Ecosystem Decline

Researchers are developing a framework to help predict and prevent the approach of rapid, harmful and difficult-to-reverse changes in ecosystems.
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Rebuilding Healthy Rivers

Researchers are using freshwater systems as a model to test how degraded ecosystems can be resistant to disruptions – including those that aim to restore…
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