Ngā māramatanga Kitmap ki te pūnaha Rangahau Pūtaiao me te Auahatanga (RSI) | Kitmap insights into the RSI system

The data in this report will provide insights into aspects of the infrastructure portfolio that are serving the system well, and areas where future system design should look to address gaps.

We found that the infrastructure portfolio across the institutions is characterised by large numbers of laboratories.

Section 2: Characterising our research infrastructure portfolio

Given that laboratories of different kinds are the fundamental venue of many types of research, this abundance seems entirely fitting as the basis for our research system. Similarly, the proportions of other types of infrastructures, such as field sites, physical and digital collections, computational resources, research vessels, and networks of monitoring sensors, are entirely in line with the fields of research prioritised by and demanded of the institutions. The main subject areas of research enabled by infrastructures are those supporting the agriculture and primary sectors, and the earth and environmental sciences, which aligns with the core purposes of the CRIs and the current system priorities they represent.

The Kitmap data show that there is significant demand for and use of these various infrastructures, both from within and outside the institutions. We found that policies for access to infrastructure vary significantly across the institutions surveyed, though all enable some level of access to external users, and over half of the infrastructures from most institutions are accessible to external users. While some infrastructures remain inaccessible, most of these are either fully utilised internally or access is restricted due to the type of research activities they support. In most cases institutions charge fees for access to external users, though significant fractions of infrastructures at some institutions are available at no cost to users. Almost all of the institutions make some use of international infrastructure that broadens their capabilities beyond what is available domestically, as well as likely spurring international collaborations.

Across the institutions, government organisations make up a significant portion of external users of research infrastructure. This reflects the delivery of science services to government, which makes up a core part of the business of the CRIs. These users include many local and regional councils and government departments, reflecting the role of the institutions in supporting government functions such as hazard and resource monitoring.

Decisions on infrastructure investments are devolved to the institutions, in line with the SSIF investment plan. As a result, decisions on infrastructure largely reflect the priorities of the individual institutions, with no clear mechanism for central coordination of investments to focus on the needs of the system as a whole. The data show that across the institutions, most infrastructures are primarily funded by the institutions through internal resources (including overheads and commercial revenue), with a lesser amount receiving direct government funding or funding from research grants. There are occasional instances of co-investment in infrastructures between institutions or with universities or private companies, though these appear to be the exception rather than the rule.