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The 2018 edition of the eResearch Conference was hosted in Queenstown and was held between February 12-14 by New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (NeSI) and Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANZ). The key message was the value of software tools, computing infrastructure, and skills training as vital supports for research today. The focus of the event was on the convienience and obstacles facing the achievement of eResearch brunt, excellence and sustainability as attendees and speakers were drawn from South Korea, North America, Australia and across New Zealand.

The programme was divided into four sections:

  • Technical Talks & Workshops
  • Professional development for early career researchers
  • Strategic sessions
  • Innovation in research

The opening keynote speech was done by Margaret Hyland who aired her views on the NZ research, innovation and science system. Being a Professor in Engineering at the University of Auckland and Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), her volume of experience was one attendees yearned to learn from. She stated that the research community was productive and dynamic because of the small size of NZ, its connectivity and centralized funding. She appraised the NZ’ local (mātaurange māori) research when she called them ‘World Leading’. She concluded by saying that increasing the international recognition of the NZ Research industry, reducing routes to risks and raising their ambitions high can make them rise above challenges. 

Nick Jones, the Chairman of the 2018 organizing committee and NeSI Director reportedly said that they have succeeded in building the biggest connections across and beyond New Zealand in the space of three days. He also stated that through excellent discussions and sessions they engaged in, they were able to examine and showcase few of their locally created innovative works and also tapped from the wealth of experience of people from other regions. He reinstated that the success of the event has concluded that all New Zealand’s future research needs will be met and more events of that kind will be hosted severally.

Kim Handley, a Rutherford Discovery Fellow in the School for Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland took the last keynote. She spoke at length from the angle of a researcher grounded in the field of Genomics Aotearoa and metagenomics pointing out the huge demand for computing tools. She commended the NeSI for being of value to her research work as her specialty required more storage and memory. She reinstated the core need for training and retraining and reechoed that the metagenomic summer schools was the evidence that engagement and outreach of the Genomics Aotearoa was a rapid success.

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