Kupu Whakataki | Introduction

Research infrastructure is an area of the Research, Science and Innovation (RSI) system where there has historically been little visibility. The need for information in this space has been repeatedly identified in previous MBIE publications, and flagged as making it difficult to identify gaps, prioritise investments, and address the general needs of the sector.

The 2016 RSI Domain Plan[1] highlighted key gaps in data relating to identifying nationally significant assets, their use, accessibility, and costs involved for research. Previous MBIE publications have referenced the 3 pillars of the RSI system as excellence, impact, and connections[2]. Infrastructure is an enabler across all 3 pillars. The Kitmap project aims to fill this gap in our understanding of the RSI system by undertaking a stocktake of science facilities and equipment available across Crown Research Institutes (CRIs), Callaghan Innovation, and the National eScience Infrastructure (NeSI).

One of the issues highlighted in the 2016 RSI Domain Plan is the lack of a coordinated system for research infrastructure. The lack of awareness of available research infrastructure can affect decision making around infrastructure investments and potentially limits the sharing of resources between institutions, which is one way of maximising the value of large infrastructure investments. By bringing together this information on research infrastructure held by the institutions, the Kitmap project is a first attempt at centralising this information. The information will support MBIE and the institutions in collective planning for resilience and meeting critical equipment needs across the country, to ensure sustainable, efficient, and enabling infrastructure. We use a fairly broad definition of research infrastructure that includes physical equipment and facilities, scientific collections and databases, and, to some extent, the technical and support staff that underpin them.

See more on defining research infrastructure

The Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF) investment plan[3] reflects the current policy on investment in national infrastructure. In recent years, several challenges around funding and governance for national infrastructures have emerged. MBIE has endeavoured to explore these further through the RSI system reform programme Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways. The insights provided by this report will serve as 1 of the inputs for future work on research infrastructure as part of Te Ara Paerangi. Through that process, we seek to understand how to increase the value from infrastructure investment, improve outcomes for the system, and better invest in enabling infrastructure to create opportunities for researchers in Aotearoa New Zealand (Aotearoa).

Through Kitmap, we aim to fill gaps in this missing information so that future policy work can begin to address the key questions raised through these reports and consultations, such as:

  • How should government design its investments in research and science?
  • What value is generated from investment in physical infrastructure in research and science?
  • Which investment mechanisms are the most effective?
  • What is the best use of research infrastructure?
  • How could research infrastructure be shared or co-owned?
  • What is Aotearoa’s physical infrastructure for research?
  • What is the demand for research infrastructure from different sectors?

The Kitmap project has 2 major outputs: this Kitmap report, and the Kitmap online tool.

This report shares analysis of our current research infrastructure holdings, the types of research and capabilities they enable, and the ways they are accessed and used. It also aims to increase understanding of our broader research infrastructure portfolio and begin to answer some of the key questions outlined above.

The Kitmap online tool will be a continuing product of the Kitmap project, supporting connection and collaboration across the RSI sector. It is intended to serve 3 important uses:

  1. As a platform for research institutions to showcase their available research infrastructure.
  2. As a tool for research offices and policy makers to identify gaps and opportunities in our research infrastructure holdings.
  3. As a portal for researchers, domestic and international, to connect with the infrastructure they need to carry out their research.

The Kitmap tool is expected to be available from early 2023. It will initially contain the data collected through this survey, but built with the intention of maintaining the current data set and new data being incorporated from other sources, such as universities and independent research organisations. A Kitmap survey is unlikely to be repeated in this form, with the Kitmap tool serving as the basis for any future reports of this nature.

In this section

Report outline

The information for Kitmap was collected from the 7 CRIs, plus Callaghan Innovation and NeSI, hereafter referred to collectively as the institutions.

Survey details

This page provides information about the institutions included in the Kitmap survey, defining research infrastucture and limitations of the survey data.

Equipment highlights

For the Kitmap report, the institutions were each asked to provide a highlight that showcases one of their infrastructures or resources. Each describes an interesting, novel, or significant piece of equipment held by one the institutions, including how it supports their important work, and thus how it benefits Aotearoa.