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Well, we now have a better idea of the Crown Research Institutes’ purpose in life following their release of statements of core purpose (SCP).

It follows on from a CRI Taskforce report in Feb. 2010 in which a major recommendation was to provide an individual CRI’s ‘clear, explicit and enduring strategic role’.

The SCPs were to be developed through high-level dialogue with CRIs and their stakeholder communities, and avoid duplication and boundary issues between CRIs, as well as noting areas where there is need for collaboration to progress national goals.

The SCPs outline each CRI’s purpose, outcomes, scope of operation and operating principles, in a two page format.

The full statements from the CRIs are available at MoRST, or direct here.

The CRIs nominate themselves as the lead in the following areas under the scope of operation heading.

AgResearch
• Pasture-based animal production systems
• New pasture plant varieties
• Agriculture-derived greenhouse gas mitigation and pastoral climate change adaptation
• Agri-food and bio-based products and agri-technologies
• Integrated social and biophysical research to support pastoral sector development

ESR
• Forensic science services
• Hard prevention from drugs and alcohol
• Surveillance of human pathogens and zoonotic diseases
• Domestic and export food safety in partnership with the regulator
• Impacts of the environment on human health, including groundwater, fresh and drinking water quality and safe biowaste use
• Integrated social and biophysical research to support decision making in environmental, public health and justice sectors

GNS Science
• Geothermal energy, oil, gas, gas-hydrates (including carbon sequestration)
• Mineral and geobiological resources
• Geological hazards, risk mitigation and societal impacts of natural hazards
• Earth-system processes and landscape evolution
• Groundwater processes and quality
• The geological component of global environmental processes and climate change
• Application of nuclear and isotope science and ion beam technology

IRL
• Manufacturing, production and process engineering technologies
• Materials, energy and minerals technology
• Electronic and information engineering
• Measurement standards
• Industrial chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing
• Medical technologies

Landcare Research
• Catchment-level ecosystems (including wetlands) and related ecosystem services
• Terrestrial vertebrate pest control
• Terrestrial carbon processes and inventory, and other greenhouse gases from soil and land
• Land cover, land-use capability and effects, and spatial land information that integrates across sectors and scales
• Soil characterization, processes and services
• Integrated social and biophysical research to support sustainable land resource management, including natural and urban environments

NIWA
• Aquatic resources and environments (with a focus on surface freshwaters and coastal environments)
• Oceans
• Freshwater and marine fisheries
• Aquaculture
• Climate and atmosphere
• Climate and weather hazards
• Aquatic and atmospheric-based energy resources
• Aquatic biodiversity (including biosystematics) and biosecurity

Plant and Food Research
• Novel fruit, vegetable and crop cultivars for the horticultural and arable industries
• Sustainable production and processing systems for the horticultural and arable industries
• Plant and seafood-based foods, ingredients and biomaterials

Scion
• Sustainable forest management and tree improvement
• Forestry biosecurity and risk management and mitigation
• Wood processing, wood-related bioenergy, waste streams and other biomaterials
• Forestry and forestry-related ecosystem services to inform land-use decision-making

Whether there’s enough critical mass, whether an integration and collaboration with universities, and whether there’s enough ‘industry’ to turn science into sellable ideas remains to be seen.

But, it’s a start.