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Mō mātau

About us

ESR – the Institute of Environmental Science and Research – is New Zealand’s Crown Research Institute specialising in science that safeguards the health and wellbeing of Aotearoa’s people and natural environment.

Public health testing image

Who we are

ESR was established as a Crown Research Institute by the New Zealand government in 1992, with roots dating back New Zealand’s Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (New Zealand) founded in 1926.

We play a critical national role in key areas including:

·      Public health – including disease surveillance, addressing global challenges such as pandemic preparedness, antimicrobial resistance and the health and wellbeing impacts of climate change, and hosting New Zealand’s national disease reference laboratory

·      Forensic science – supporting the justice system and reducing drug harm through crime scene examinations, DNA analysis, toxicology expertise and world-leading innovations

·      Food and product safety – protecting New Zealanders from food-borne illnesses, biosecurity risks and understanding what is contained in products entering our borders

·    Water and environment – safeguarding our groundwater and ensuring our water management systems promote healthy communities

·      Radiation science – providing specialist advice, training and monitoring services to manage risks and impacts for New Zealand.

We partner with iwi to address important questions facing Māori, supporting equitable health outcomes and safeguarding our wai and kai.

Together, we aspire to be at the forefront of attaining the lowest possible burden of crime, environmental contamination and infectious diseases in New Zealand. Reducing inequities and improving wellbeing outcomes now and for the future are at the core of the science we deliver for New Zealand.


employees across 4 locations

At ESR, over 78% of our employees are engaged in science and research.


of our workforce are women

We are dedicated to creating an inclusive workplace community that respects and values diverse backgrounds and perspectives.


locations around New Zealand

ESR has locations in in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington (Wallaceville and Kenepuru)

Sustainability at ESR


ESR’s sustainability commitment aligns with our value Mahi Pono – We do the right thing. As well as pursuing science that promotes sustainability, we aim to minimise the impact of our work on the environment and play our part in ensuring a more sustainable Aotearoa New Zealand. We are proud to have received Toitū Carbonreduce Certification, providing independent verification that our carbon emissions footprint, is complete, accurate, and up to an international standard.

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