Science behind NZBIDA

By harnessing the power of digital technology, AgResearch’s New Zealand Bioeconomy in the Digital Age (NZBIDA) research programme’s vision is to create a future where food systems are based on diversified, sustainable, resilient and economically prosperous land-uses.

A future in which all food actors have an opportunity to use the power of digital technologies to effect change across the entire agricultural value chain. A future that features a fundamental shift from linear volume-based production to formulate novel value propositions which reward and include different environmental, social and cultural principles.

It’s a big, laudable, ambitious vision. But the world has been afforded an opportunity – a digital technology revolution – that can become a key agent for change, catalysing transformation and creating the transdisciplinary approach required to reach this common goal. Our future digital bioeconomy will be powered by making sense and order of data. Our job is to provide tools, advice and frameworks to influence, facilitate and enable informed value chain decision-making with the ultimate goal of future-proofing the business of farming.

Our farming legacy is rich in innovation. Resourcefulness and Kiwi ingenuity are baked into our farming DNA. NZBIDA will therefore fuse together No 8 wire thinking with heritage, science and digital know-how to ensure New Zealand farming is at the vanguard of future digital innovation.

Researching and digital horizon scanning 

NZBIDA will demonstrate how data related technologies can catalyse the relationship between the farmer and consumer and establish new levels of trust and transparency in all facets of that shared value chain. Trust from farmers in the technology and power of data. And trust from the consumer that digital technology can and will usher in a new level of digital inspired sustainability and sophistication. NZBIDA will provide leadership and proofs-of-concept to inspire and spark new ways of working, integration of existing data and technology prototypes and tools. It will create pathways for further scientific exploration into next generation technologies and the ideas that underpin them. NZBIDA will focus on combining data science with our strengths (the breadth of our science and capability, in an aligned and integrated structure, with a New Zealand lens and deep understanding of food production systems. We’ll also partner, where appropriate, to bring in new skills.

Our programme is: 

  • Fully aligned to AgResearch’s Science Plan
  • engaging and integrating across the organisation’s science engine
  • using our national and international science networks
  • Embracing and mixing traditional science excellence with new agile ways of working
  • bold, open (source), and unafraid of failure 
  • Incorporating dual knowledge systems  - mātauranga Māori and western science
  • Focusing on our strengths (integration, systems thinking) and partnering where appropriate to bring in new skills

Examples of our work

Here you will find a selection of stories which shows outputs from the NZBIDA programme.

Radio with pictures Adobe
Radio with pictures
The laws of physics can’t be changed. However, Shane Leath and Debbie Berg of AgResearch are currently trying to bend them in a way ‘the experts’ have assumed to be impossible.
James Turner
Technology's potential
Technology’s potential to transform agriculture in New Zealand is (theoretically) limitless. But barriers – some obvious, others less so – need to first be overcome to affect real and beneficial change.
Science stories dairy
The dairy farm of the future
AgResearch is using cutting edge technology to plan what the modern dairy farm of the future will look like. The research is being carried out with Dairy New Zealand and Fonterra.