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ESR welcomes science infrastructure investment at Kenepuru

03 June 2020

Today’s announcement to invest in science infrastructure at the Kenepuru Science Centre underscores the vital role ESR plays in the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has committed $25 million towards redeveloping the science centre at ESR’s campus in Porirua.

The redevelopment will include a mix of modern laboratories, research support spaces, a forensic service centre and office accommodation.  At over 40 years old, the current buildings pose an earthquake risk, are outdated and have excessive maintenance and running costs.

ESR’s CE Dr Keith McLea says fit for purpose infrastructure will allow ESR to operate more innovatively, collaboratively and efficiently, as well as embracing and enabling modern and changing ways of working.

“ESR has an unwavering focus on developing science solutions to improve the wellbeing of people and communities. With science and technology advancing at such high rates, particularly genomics, DNA and artificial intelligence, we need to keep pace.  To do that, ESR needs modern, fit for purpose facilities that support greater collaboration and innovative science,” says Dr McLea.

“This significant investment in our aging infrastructure will enable us to adapt to a rapidly changing environment while continuing to support the Government’s response to significant national events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Whakaari/White Island eruption,” he says.

While visiting ESR’s Kenepuru Science Centre today, Hon Dr Woods further announced a $196 million investment into the seven Crown Research Institutes (CRI).

Dr McLea says the funding announcement is an acknowledgement of the vital work ESR and the six other CRI’s carry out for the betterment of New Zealand.

“We are extremely proud of the work our teams do to support New Zealand communities, particularly right now helping the Government’s response to, and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  This investment means our scientists will have fit for purpose infrastructure to carry out future-focused science.  They’ll also have appropriate funding to ensure we can deliver excellent science and research to keep our communities safe and healthy, which is essential for the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.”