Keynote speaker: Libby Evans-Illidge, Manager of the Bioresources Library at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Queensland, and Director of the [email protected] Cook University postgraduate research alliance.
Lessons learnt from Australian biodiscovery and sponge aquaculture projects will be passed onto Bay of Plenty scientists and business leaders later this month as part of the University of Waikato’s Treasuring the Bay symposium in Tauranga on Friday 24 January.
Libby Evans-Illidge, Manager of the Bioresources Library at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Queensland, and Director of the [email protected] Cook University postgraduate research alliance, will give the keynote address. She will discuss her work in managing Australia’s largest and most comprehensive marine bioresources library, linkages with New Zealand and her work with remote indigenous communities.
She says she is looking forward to sharing her Australian experience with New Zealand colleagues, and hopes it helps them generate new knowledge and commercial capability within communities, and planning infrastructure for economic development.
Combining scientific research with commercially viable projects
“There are many opportunities to combine scientific research with commercially viable projects which can be mutually beneficial to all parties concerned,” she says.
Ms Evans-Illidge will discuss some of the initiatives she has been involved in to develop sponge farm projects within communities at Palm Island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and in Torres Strait in north Queensland.
“Most importantly, research opportunities offer a huge range of potential benefits that are often overlooked. While the research may not always lead to a major drug find with commercial profits, the community has still built knowledge and capacity by participating in the research, and through activities such as commercial aquaculture development.”
Ms Evans-Illidge is also closely involved with current research on three Australian sea sponges whose bioactive compounds are being targeted for commercial drug development.
She says New Zealand has already punched well above its weight in its contributions to the field of marine natural products research and has an exciting future ahead.
Research in the Bay of Plenty
Other presenters at the symposium will include Professor Chris Battershill who will discuss the opportunity for marine pharmaceutical and other ‘blue biotechnology’ research in the Bay of Plenty. There will also be updates on coastal research projects, including the Rena monitoring programme, as well as agribusiness, Mauri of the Bay, and brief presentations from scholarship students about their summer research projects.
Organiser Dr Nigel Calder, Partnership and Liaison Manager at the University in Tauranga, says the Treasuring the Bay symposium is an opportunity for the community to engage with experts about coastal research and economic developments taking place in the Bay of Plenty as well as looking at the issues we face.
The symposium is free and the public is welcome to attend. It will be held from 9.00am-3.00pm, Friday 24 January at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Drive, Sulphur Point, Tauranga. Registration is essential for seating and catering purposes. To register and for more information, please contact Nyree Sherlock, [email protected]