New Zealand and France strengthen research ties [fr]
New Zealand’s research linkages with France were bolstered during November with a week-long visit to New Zealand by a delegation of 21 representatives from leading French research organisations.
The delegation undertook a programme of visits to New Zealand research organisations across the country prior to attending a major symposium in Wellington on 19 and 20 November. This week of exchanges also enabled the renewal of two MoUs between French and New Zealand research organisations (NIWA – Irstea and Plant and Food Research – IAC).
French Ambassador H.E. Mrs Florence Jeanblanc-Risler said that New Zealand and France share a proud history of scientific cooperation dating back to the 1820s.
"As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations, scientific collaboration between our two countries has proved to be a major aspect of this bilateral relationship, and is still on the rise. Beyond the benefits our scientific collaborations bring to our economies and political relations, they also greatly contribute to international scientific knowledge. They also shape lives as more and more researchers travel back and forth between France and New Zealand to address the many global challenges we are to face together from climate change to natural hazards to health issues.”
Paul Stocks, Deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is enthusiastic about the new potential this partnership has generated.
“MBIE data suggests that around 7 percent of New Zealand researchers have links with France, making it New Zealand’s 5th most significant partner. I’m keen to see those research linkages further strengthened”, Mr Stocks said.
Approximately 80 people attended the Symposium in Wellington. Its purpose was to explore opportunities for strengthening research cooperation between New Zealand and France. It incorporated three workshops focusing on biological industries, environment (including marine and geosciences) and advanced manufacturing and materials.
The Symposium also marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Dumont d’Urville research exchange scheme. The programme was established in 2005 by MBIE and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Ministry of Research and Higher Education (MENESR). It finances about five projects yearly and 54 projects have been funded since its inception. The programme specifically supports bilateral collaboration in the fields of food, agriculture and fisheries, biotechnology, nanosciences, renewable energy and energy efficiency and biodiversity.
The Symposium concluded with a commitment from both sides to further explore opportunities for collaboration across workshop sectors and to refine the focus and direction of the Dumont d’Urville programme to maximise its future effectiveness.
Find more photos from the week-long visit HERE.