Our research provides the science evidence to support the transformational agenda of the agri-food sector and aids transition to new agri-food systems that enhance societal and environmental conditions.

Our Science

Transformative research

True transformation requires engagement and input from businesses, communities, iwi, local and national government, science, and national agencies in order to develop a shared vision as well as real transition pathways.

At AgResearch, we provide transformative research which aspires to deliver a system change at the societal level with beneficial environmental, social, cultural and economic outcomes.

We do this via transdisciplinary programmes which involve the integration of knowledge and methods across different science disciplines, as well as those from outside science. Together the participants shape and share the direction of the research, outputs and outcomes.

Transforming New Zealand's sheep milk industry

Ewes content on a Spring Sheep Milk Co farm in Waikato.

For example, AgResearch was involved in supporting the transformation of New Zealand's sheep milk industry.

The aim of this six-year project was to support the emerging industry and help them increase exports. We did this through a mix of on-farm and off-farm research and involving diverse collaborators.

There were three underlying research components to this significant research programme:

  • understanding the health benefits of sheep milk
  • increasing milk production
  • investigating the environmental footprint of sheep milking

This research has given the industry the confidence to expand and go forward.

Thomas MacDonald, Chief Operating Officer, Spring Sheep Milk Co.
  • Additional capabilities

    • Providing combinations of knowledge and technical capabilities to realise the future agri-food sector
    • Developing new tools, processes, and systems that support transformation
    • Designing policies and practices for society-supported pathways to the future
    • Developing and maintaining circular collaboration: networking, innovation platforms, etc.
    • Challenging mindsets: expectations, trust, relationships
    • Challenging behaviour: doing things differently, using new technology or existing tech in different ways
    • Integrating and coordinating changes: navigation of changed rules, policies, regulations, legislation etc., acceleration and scale (streamlining and scaling up) etc., manage/ mitigate harmful disruption)
    • Providing transformative and transdisciplinary research approaches that practically equip stakeholders to design and deliver the type of programmes that respond to complex societal challenges.
    • Establishing links and connections between existing research and bodies of knowledge and new related transformational initiatives.
    • Shared learning: with our Māori Research and Partnerships group, assisting stakeholders to build capacity and capability to develop and strengthen relationships with Māori partners and te ao Māori

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