20 Sep 2011

Funding boost for greenhouse gas reduction research

7:06 am on 20 September 2011

A $25 million fund to help reduce greenhouse emissions caused by pastoral farming is now open to applications from partnerships between New Zealand and overseas researchers.

The fund is the Government's contribution to the Global Research Alliance, a New Zealand initiative that now includes 32 countries.

The alliance was set up to encourage international research on reducing emissions from all types of agriculture.

New Zealand scientists are focusing on reducing emissions from livestock, including methane, which is the country's most significant greenhouse gas.

NZ leads world in some areas

Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre director Harry Clarke says New Zealand is regarded as a world leader in some areas of greenhouse gas research and the fund will accelerate projects.

"One is in the area of understanding the rumen, which is the place where the methane emissions are generated. We have the largest research group in the world who are looking at rumen issues."

Dr Clarke says New Zealand also leads the world in research into nitrous oxide emissions and has a very advanced research agenda on whether it is possible to breed animals with low emissions.

He says it would be of great benefit if groups with specific expertise could work with New Zealand researchers.

"The fund presents an opportunity for a number of projects around the world which you would say are not optimal in size, but together they can make much more progress."

To qualify for funding, overseas scientists need to be in a partnership with New Zealand researchers and provide co-funding.

The fund will be available for the next four years.