• Future Strategy update

    Future Strategy update

Strategy update from Challenge Director, Dr Andrea Byrom

Constructive and positive is how I would describe the one-day meeting with a review panel that will make recommendations on the second round of five-year investment in our Challenge.

In August, BioHeritage Challenge representatives met with the panel for a full day of discussion and questions about our proposed Future Strategy. Months of planning and consultation went into the new strategy and we are hugely grateful to all of you who helped us prepare it.

A number of representatives from groups involved in the strategy’s creation supported us on the day, including Challenge Host Manaaki Whenua, scientists, stakeholders, Māori knowledge holders, our Kāhui Māori and Governance Group. We are hugely grateful to those individuals for taking the time out of their busy schedules.

Overall, it was an extremely constructive conversation. The panel had a lot of questions about what we see as the roadblocks to success being faced by us and the other 10 National Science Challenges. Other topics covered in-depth included thought leadership, interdisciplinary research, social licence and getting the public on board with big topics.

Via the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the panel has now provided a draft report to Manaaki Whenua, with MBIE’s Science Board due to announce a decision in November 2018.

The panel’s report said the BioHeritage Challenge has created an excellent, open and collaborative culture which appears to be delivering benefits for both science outcomes and challenge researchers. The panel’s comments were also strongly supportive of the new strategy.

We are now starting to scope seven Strategic Outcome areas outlined in the new strategy. These outcomes fall under three impact areas:

  1. Empower – New Zealanders value our biological heritage, understand how it is changing, and are inspired to take action to protect it.
  2. Protect – New Zealand’s biosecurity system is world class.
  3. Restore – New Zealand’s natural and production ecosystems are resilient and thriving.

A message from Dr James Buwalda, Governance Group Chair

The BioHeritage Challenge’s Governance Group strongly endorses the Future Strategy. We expect that through the robust review process that’s now underway, our Strategy will be further refined but, in the meantime, the Governance Group supports work to begin to develop a 2019–2024 research plan alongside the Strategy.

We appreciate the constructive engagement and input we have received across all Challenge Parties and many other stakeholders and end-users, and we now look forward to further contributions as detailed research plans are developed and implemented over the coming months.