Supporting economic sustainability

Economic sustainability is fundamental to the development of stable communities functioning within healthy environments.

The University of Waikato brings a wealth of experience to bear in this area with research programmes that, for example, monitor the regional economy, and measure the social and economic impacts of temporary labour migration.

A well-educated workforce is an essential element of economic sustainability, and the selection of case studies in this section highlights two national educational projects being led by this University to find ways to make science more accessible to teachers and students.

Adding value to existing industries, developing sound parameters for their sustainable growth, or making them more efficient, are other ways of contributing to economic sustainability. The following case studies include research projects aimed at adding value to the New Zealand meat, pastoral and honey industries, laying the groundwork for sustainable growth in aquaculture, and finding new and more efficient means of rural communications and farm testing regimes.

A number of our research programmes have led to commercial spin-offs that fall within the Agenda 21 concept of “responsible entrepreneurship [that] can play a major role in improving the efficiency of resource use, reducing risks and hazards, minimising wastes and safeguarding environmental qualities.”

Long-term economic and industrial sustainability may also rely upon fundamental research that is still unlocking the secrets of our solar system. A case study on University of Waikato research on solar flares, which can have a significant effect on our telecommunications and electricity systems, explains why.

Monitoring The Economic Pulse Of The Waikato
Reliable up-to-date regional economic data is crucial for planners, policymakers and local government, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. Dr Warren Hughes, who is now an Honorary Fellow of the University, and Professor Frank Scrimgeour, who is Dean of the Waikato Management School, have been collating and analysing regional economic data for the Waikato and surrounding regions over the last 20 years.

Temporary Migration Programme Is A Winner All Round
A new government programme designed to bring seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands to work in horticulture and viticulture for up to seven months per year is proving a win-win initiative for both New Zealand and the Pacific source countries.

Taking Science and Biotechnology to the Classroom
New Zealand’s world-class scientists and technologists are collaborating with science educators to find ways to make science more accessible to teachers and students.

Enhancing Primary Student-Teacher Interactions In Science And Technology
Helping students learn more in science and technology education is the ultimate aim of a University of Waikato Faculty of Education project.

Animal Protein Becomes Biodegradable Plastic
Low-value animal protein is being given a new life as high-value plastic with the discovery of a new manufacturing process by two University of Waikato scientists.

Bovine Bone Replacement
Waste material from cattle processing could one day be responsible for shorter healing times and stronger bones for joint replacement and bone graft patients.

Identifying Sustainable Aquaculture Management Areas
The growth of New Zealand’s aquaculture industry - which has seen greenshell mussel export volumes double in the decade to 2005 - is now putting pressure on regional councils to identify Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs) in open coast locations.

Keeping Farmers Online
Farmers wanting to get the most out of their land have a new weapon: rural broadband, which allows them to plan and communicate with workers, collect data electronically, link the farm’s office computer with the dairy shed or yards, and receive emails and talk wirelessly – even out on the farm.

Machine Learning has a Special Chemistry
Efficient farming practices demand that farmers routinely test their soil for nitrogen and carbon content before making decisions about fertilising their land.

Genes, Enzymes and Microbes: The gems of industrial biotechnology
Industrial biotechnology is an area of research and development in which the University of Waikato has had a long and outstanding record of success.

Unlocking the Secrets of the Sun's Energy
Solar flares are the biggest explosions in the solar system, unleashing the equivalent of a billion megatons of TNT in seconds and showering the earth with x-rays and gamma rays that disrupt satellite-based telecommunication systems and cause power surges in the world’s electrical grids.

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