Scion fuels bi-lateral bioenergy talks

25 January 2010

Crown Research Institute Scion hosted a high profile delegation today to discuss US-NZ research collaborations in bioenergy.

The workshop, which was held at Scion’s Rotorua campus, is part of the wider programme of the New Zealand-United States Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) on Science and Technology Cooperation.

The workshop focused on US and New Zealand research into the opportunities for new bioenergy products and identified where researchers from the two nations might collaborate to speed their development and deployment.

Key figures in the US delegation included Dr Steven Koonin, Under Secretary of Science at the US Department of Energy, and Dr World Nieh, National Programme Leader, Forest Products and Wood Utilisation, US Forest Service.

Scion chief executive Dr Tom Richardson says the JCM brings the highest ranking and most significant US science delegation ever to visit New Zealand, and Scion is proud to be recognised for its excellent work.

“Scion already has a strong network of research collaborations in the US. This forum affords the chance to extend these relationships and speed the development of new bio-based products domestically and globally,” he says.

Scion is well established in the field of bioenergy with its research into heat, power and, more recently, transport fuels. Over the past two years the organisation has also published a series of reports on Bioenergy Options for New Zealand, highlighting the vital role plantation forestry can play in New Zealand’s future energy needs.

Other CRIs, AgResearch, GNS and NIWA completed the New Zealand line-up in Rotorua, providing updates on their research on areas of bioenergy.

Facilitated by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, the workshop was one of six taking place throughout the country on themes where New Zealand has recognised scientific strengths including: bioenergy; agriculture and food innovation; climate and the Pacific; and Antarctic science.

Each workshop delivered recommendations on priority areas and activities for research collaboration between the US and New Zealand, which will be formalised at a meeting of JCM officials in Wellington tomorrow.

The JCM was established in 2007. It forms part of the US-NZ bilateral Research Science and Technology Agreement, signed in 1974 and renewed in 1991. A JCM is held every two years, with the US and NZ taking turns to host proceedings.

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