Research Programmes

  • Irrigating a maize field. Image - © Plant & Food Research

    Irrigating a maize field. Image © Plant & Food Research

  • Possum at a birds nest. Image - © Nga Manu

    Possum at a birds nest. Image - © Nga Manu

  • Kauri canopy.

    Kauri canopy.

New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge is broad, complex, and will integrate a wide range of science disciplines.

The Challenge aims to reverse the decline of our biological heritage by protecting and managing biodiversity, improving biosecurity, and enhancing resilience to harmful organisms. The Challenge includes research on ways to characterise flora and fauna, reduce rates of incursion or establishment by foreign invader species, and enhance and restore the resilience of vulnerable ecosystems to prevent biodiversity loss and mitigate the effects of global change. National partnerships will deliver a  step-change in research innovation and sector and community action.

The Challenge will increase the relevance, value and impact of biosecurity and biodiversity research through:

  • An integrated ‘one ecosystem’ research agenda
  • incorporating Māori worldviews and customary approaches
  • deeper collaboration across research boundaries and disciplines
  • larger-scale research programmes focusing on ‘mission-critical’ research
  • stimulating and rewarding research excellence
  • more effective public engagement.

Rather than attempt a comprehensive response to all of the Challenge themes, resources will be focused on three critical areas, complemented by aligned research (not funded by the Challenge but contributing to our knowledge and understanding of New Zealand’s biological heritage).


Assessing our biological heritage

It is essential that New Zealand’s native and introduced flora, fauna and fungi are sufficiently understood to inform…

Reducing risks and threats across landscapes

New Zealand is highly vulnerable to incursions of invasive pests, weeds and diseases. For example, the painted apple…

Sustaining and restoring ecosystems

The health of our biological heritage depends on sustaining our natural capital (our stocks of natural assets, including…

Aligned Research Funding 2015/16

Each year the 17 Challenge Parties provide information on research within their organisation that they identify as aligned…

Te Tira Whakamātaki Māori Biosecurity Network

Te Tira Whakamātaki, the Māori Biosecurity Network is a network of Māori scientists (plant pathologists, soil chemists, biosecurity officers,…


The Challenge is committed to achieving transformational environmental change, the recognition of the role of Māori as leaders…

Research Opportunities

Great student opportunity for the right candidate. In this space we will advertise any student projects offered by…

Intermediate Outcomes

In 2015 the Challenge stakeholders and Kāhui Māori identified several Intermediate Outcomes – tangible impacts on New Zealand’s biological heritage they want to result from research.

New Zealand’s future relies on our biological heritage. This Challenge will ensure that New Zealanders have the knowledge, tools and technologies to better protect our primary production-based economy, precious native flora and fauna, and unique environments for future generations.