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UPDATE - NZ Government Funding in support of the Global Research Alliance

The New Zealand Government (through MAF) has committed a total of NZ$45 million over 5 years to support the work of the Global Research Alliance (Alliance) on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

Most of this investment directly supports collaborative research projects intended to discover and develop new ways of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of agricultural and in particular livestock production. This NZ$45 million is being distributed via a number of channels.

Following a competitive tender process, five projects designed to specifically support the activities of the Livestock Research Group of the Alliance, which NZ co-chairs with the Netherlands, have been awarded a total of NZ$2.9 million. These projects, led by New Zealand scientists but made up of teams from Alliance countries, will undertake to:

  1. Finalise a ‘good practice guide' on the methodologies for chamber N2O measurements from soils. Contact: cecile.deklein@agresearch.co.nz.
  2. Establish and co-coordinate the animal selection, genetics and genomics network (ASGG Network) a global research network focusing on emissions mitigation through the genetic improvements of ruminants. Contact: grant.shackell@agresearch.co.nz
  3. Establish the Rumen Microbial Genomics Network (RMG Network) to better understand global rumen microbial genomics diversity. Contact: Dr Adrian Cookson at RMG.network@agresearch.co.nz
  4. Characterise the rumen microbial diversity through:
    a. a taxonomy of rumen bacteria. Contact: peter.janssen@agresearch.co.nz;
    b. a global census of rumen microbial diversity. Contact: Dr Gemma Henderson at global.rumen.census@agresearch.co.nz;
    c. the Hungate 1000 project to generate a catalogue of reference rumen microbial genomes. Contact: Dr Bill Kelly at hungate1000@agresearch.co.nz.
  5. Improve the identification and selection of low emitting animals through the sharing of data and development of common measurement protocols. Contact: John.McEwen@agresearch.co.nz

MAF has also established an internationally competitive research fund with NZ$25 million of the Alliance funding, called the Global Partnerships Fund in Livestock Emissions Research. This fund is truly international in nature as projects can be led by scientists from any Alliance country. Sixteen million dollars was available for the first round of the fund, which had a two stage process. Initial expressions of interest were assessed against a series of four targeted ‘research challenges' and the highest rated projects were invited to submit full applications. The fund was heavily oversubscribed; of the 36 expressions of interest submitted in November 2011, 11 were selected to proceed to full application.

With a second round likely to be opened in mid 2012, there are several lessons to be learned for applicants thinking of applying to the next round.

  1. Read the instructions and guidelines carefully and make every word count; the expression of interest form is brief and it is crucial that the information requested in each section is provided in a clear and concise manner.
  2. Ensure the project is clearly aligned to one of the four research challenges proposed, being distantly related will not suffice. Read the challenges carefully.
  3. The formation and development of new/existing partnerships is a core aim of the fund and researchers should look widely when forming research teams and not restrict membership to people they work with already.
  4. The science should be relevant, robust and fit for purpose.
  5. The proposals should succinctly outline the science methodology and clearly identify how data generated will be used to advance the search for mitigation solutions.

Further information about the Global Partnerships Fund can be obtained from http://www.maf.govt.nz/nzlivestockemissionsfund or by contacting andrea.pickering@maf.govt.nz


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