The University of the South Pacific and Landcare Research New Zealand Limited have been co-operating for some years on a project-by-project basis. Now, both institutions have decided to intensify their co-operation by signing a Memorandum of Agreement to support science collaboration and to develop high level science-based strategic partnership.
Landcare Research is New Zealand’s leading environmental consultancy and research company with vast resources, capacity and experience in international development projects. It focuses on sustainable land management practices including economic, social and cultural impact of using land resources.
Chief Executive, Dr Warren Parker, said they believe that their focus fits well with USP’s purpose “…the maintenance, advancement and dissemination of knowledge by teaching, consultancy and research and otherwise and for the provision of appropriate levels of education and training responsive to the well-being and needs of the communities in the South Pacific….” and the university’s objective to promote “consultancy and research”.
Landcare Research has more than 30 years experience working with peers in the Pacific to deliver a range of services such scientific research, surveys, training and consultancy in many areas of resource management to effect outcomes for the productive economy and for conservation. Collaboration with USP has been increased through a NZAID Government Agencies Fund project which is they are developing and sharing capacity in the botanical collections and databases in the South Pacific Regional Herbarium at the Faculty of Science and Technology.
Through the science partnership, Landcare Research could contribute to the science values and objectives of USP, based on their New Zealand experience and wider international collaborations. This could further extend opportunities between USP and Landcare Research for:
- Fostering science excellence, which is dependent on long terms collaboration, commitment to science publication, etc
- Building mentoring, student supervision, and secondment relationships
- Enhancing sharing of science expertise and knowledge between New Zealand and other Pacific countries
- Managing access and benefit sharing and ensuring IP ownership sits with appropriate communities and other entities – our experience is that project-based IP can be assigned in rigid and inappropriate ways.
The review of the science commissioned by the New Zealand Ministry of Research, Science and Technology and NZAID in 2007 recommended increased science partnership between New Zealand and Pacific countries and regional group. The MOU demonstrates Landcare Research’s commitment to this vision.
The University is grateful to Mr Marika Tuiwawa, Professor Randolf Thaman, Professor William Aalbersberg, and Professor Ian Payton for establishing the initial discussions on this partnership.
The Vice-Chancellor of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra, said that USP is the premier higher education institution of the region and has developed a strong reputation for education and research. There is much international interest in forming partnerships with USP. “This partnership with Landcare Research will be mutually beneficial and is part of USP’s Strategic Plan’s objectives to increase research and applied policy work. The USP looks forward to working closely with Landcare Research”, said Professor Chandra.