NZBIDA background

“We want to demonstrate that digital technologies, co-designed with stakeholders and consumers, enable us to implement practices across the value chain based on strong sustainability, resilience and well-being that were not conceivable/doable/achievable before”.

What is “NZBIDA”?

NZBIDA is an AgResearch integrated research programme, established in 2018.  The programme focuses on whole of value chain.

There is a focus on multi-disciplinary research teams, integrated research, the trialling of agile working practices and the use of transdisciplinary co-design. There is also a strong social element to the required transformation, including around adoption and use of technology. These are all important aspects of creating impactful science in the digital age.


New technology development in the primary sector is moving at pace but tends to be implemented in piecemeal fashion, mainly covering ‘single issues’. 

“We believe digital solutions can deliver on their potential to transform the New Zealand bioeconomy only when they are understood and developed within the context of the complex interweaving of the technical, biophysical, policy and social dimensions of the bioeconomy.”

The NZBIDA programme allows us to test this.  Integration and systems understanding is AgResearch’s strength.

NZBIDA Phase 1 (2018-2020)

Over 18 months, we completed 20 uses-cases to establish Proofs of Concept (PoCs) relating to use of digital technologies through the value web.  Each PoC addressed one or more of our 5 Programme Outcomes.

These PoCs have included developing new knowledge and new scientific methods, the application of and/or development of sensors, and the use of new analytics.  These are a rich source for further development and/or implementation. And learnings from Phase 1 were taken into Phase 2.

NZBIDA: Phase 2 (2020 onwards)

Building on the experiences of NZBIDA Phase 1 (18 months), we have been co-developing this programme with stakeholders, Māori, scientists and international stakeholders.

It is well recognised that New Zealand’s bioeconomy needs to transform in light of global and national drivers.  New Zealand needs to transform to a bioeconomy that delivers the following long-term outcomes:

  • prosperous land-based enterprises;
  • protected, enhanced and sustained natural resources;
  • and delivering added-value foods and bio-based products that meet consumer needs. 

These goals align with the AgResearch Science Plan.


The programme will test the hypothesis that digital technologies are vastly more effective in addressing difficult problems than using reductionist approaches. 

The programme aims to: enable science excellence, leading to new options/solutions being developed; catalyse more effective multi-disciplinary working (new ways of working); deliver value creation/protection within rural businesses.