- Catalyst: Strategic – Auckland Bioengineering Institute 12 Labours project
- Catalyst: Strategic – New Zealand-DLR Joint Research Programme December 2020
- Catalyst: Strategic – New Zealand-China joint research partnerships 2020/2021
- Catalyst: Strategic – New Zealand-Singapore Data Science Research Programme
- Catalyst: Strategic – New Zealand-Singapore Future Foods Research Programme
- Catalyst: Strategic - MethaneSAT atmospheric science project
- Catalyst: Strategic – New Zealand-China joint research partnerships 2019/2020
- Catalyst: Strategic – The Cyber Security Research Programme
- Catalyst: Strategic – Space 2019
- Catalyst: Strategic – NZ-Korea joint research partnerships
- Catalyst: Strategic – a collaborative biomedical science research programme with China
- Catalyst: Strategic – the New Zealand-China Research Collaboration Centres
- Catalyst: Strategic – New Zealand-Germany Green Hydrogen research partnerships
- Catalyst Fund
Catalyst: Strategic – NZ-Korea joint research partnerships
MBIE and the National Research Foundation of Korea have announced the three successful proposals to be funded under the 2021 Catalyst: Strategic New Zealand – Republic of Korea Joint Research Partnerships programme.
About this programme
The New Zealand – Korea Joint Research Partnerships Programme is a triennial funding programme that facilitates bilateral science, research and innovation collaborations between New Zealand and Korean researchers. It is a bilateral funding initiative with the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF).
New Zealand and Korea have agreed to fund three joint research projects through the 2021 funding round, one each in the priority areas of Artificial Intelligence, New Materials and Health Technologies. New Zealand research teams were able to apply for up to $450,000 over three years, with their Korean partners applying for their own funding through the NRF.
|Lead NZ organisation||Project title|
|The University of Auckland||Artificial Intelligence based Smart Farming System|
|Plant and Food Research||Metasurfaces: New Smart Labelling Technology for New Zealand and Korean Products|
|The University of Auckland||Development of novel sensitisers for ultra-high dose rate FLASH radiotherapy|
Public Statements of funded projects (MBIE-administered)
Artificial Intelligence based Smart Farming System
This collaborative programme will result in new smart farm artificial intelligence (AI) technology which will be used to deliver valuable crop growth monitoring and management autonomously and/or remotely using a new computer vision, machine learning, and AI.
The research will develop an AI-based smart farming system capable of automating sensing, monitoring, and managing farms. It will detect and count targets, such as flowers and fruit, which will be decided from the co-design workshop with stakeholders in New Zealand and Korea. The sensing data will be uploaded to the digital farming system, ‘Data Dam’ that enables autonomous operation and/or tele-operation from two countries. The smart farming system controls the farm environments as the best condition for plant development by analysing the plant growth, such as size of fruit, using computer vision, machine learning, and A.I. The research team is a collaboration between the University of Auckland and local partners in New Zealand and Korean research centres HKNU, KITECH, and their local partners in Korea.
The new technology will address significant issues in the farm industry: global labour shortages, rising farming costs and delivery costs, and uncertainty due to climate-change induced weather fluctuations. The research will also benefit the New Zealand and Korean farming industries through increasing returns and efficiency. It will enable precision and smart farming that fosters: a) environmental sustainability through best land practices; and b) the integration of innovation on Māori-owned farms. Our partners and stakeholders will benefit through increased farm returns and reducing workload and costs.
Metasurfaces: New Smart Labelling Technology for New Zealand and Korean Products
We will develop a new smart labelling technology based on metasurfaces, to be used as new tools for quality assurance and authentication of products for export. New Zealand horticultural products and their packaging will be included as target application areas of the labelling technology in the New Zealand context. However, the application areas will not be limited to fresh produce, and high-value manufactured products will also be targeted. This new smart labelling technology will play a pivotal role in protecting New Zealand's brand in competitive overseas markets by offering consumers a readily available means to confirm the high quality and authenticity of the product before and after purchase. The new technology will use metaholograms, an application of metamaterials.
The optical properties of matter define how it interacts with light. When light hits a material, it is usually absorbed or reflected. New materials called metamaterials, however, interact with light in unusual ways by manipulating the paths traversed by light through these novel optical materials. For example, an invisibility cloak should become a reality through exploiting these unique optical properties of metamaterials in the future. As nanotechnologies advance, specially designed patterns with dimensions less than the wavelength of light can be built on a surface. Those surfaces with sub-wavelength patterns are called metasurfaces.
Metasurface has been one of the latest and hottest materials science research areas due to its broad range of potential applications in electromagnetics (ranging from low microwave to optical frequencies). This research programme will support our collaboration with a world-class Korean research team in the area. Through the research programme, the New Zealand team will gain new skills and expertise. The research programme will allow the New Zealand team to be visible in the metasurface-related international research community by publishing high-profile journal articles on metamaterials and the devices based on these novel materials.
Development of novel sensitisers for ultra-high dose rate FLASH radiotherapy
Radiation therapy is widely used for cancer treatment. There is a continual drive to increase the efficacy and reduce normal tissue side effects of radiation therapy. A new experimental technology that delivers ultra-high dose rate radiation therapy (FLASH-RT) reduces normal tissue toxicity for a standard dose of radiotherapy, but how it does this is unknown.
The benefit of radiotherapy is undermined by the presence of small populations of tumour cells that live in very low levels of oxygen. These “hypoxic” cells drive treatment resistance and make tumours more malignant. There has been a surge in interest in sensitisers that will improve patient outcomes with radiation therapy. Scientists at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre at the University of Auckland have identified new drugs that sensitise tumour cells to radiotherapy and overcome resistance to standard radiotherapy caused by hypoxic tumour cells.
This international collaboration between the University of Auckland and Seoul National University will explore the combination of these radiosensitisers with FLASH-RT to see if they can unravel the mechanisms behind the normal tissue sparing effects. They will also determine if the sensitisers can increase the efficacy of FLASH-RT against hypoxic tumour cells. This research will co-develop exciting new technologies with the potential to transform radiation therapy.
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