Colorado State University Enters Agreement with New Zealand Research Institute to Address Environmental Problems

Colorado State University on Thursday will enter an agreement with New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research to work together on solutions for environmental problems.

The agreement will encourage faculty, students and administrators to collaborate on research and outreach projects and will increase the exchange of information and scientists between the two institutions.

"This agreement recognizes an active relationship between the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research and Colorado State while also providing an opportunity to expand the relationship in the future," said Robert Ward, director of the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute at Colorado State. "The agreement enhances opportunities for top level researchers from the two institutions to find solutions for environmental challenges common to both countries."

A five-year international memorandum of understanding will be signed in ceremonies in Ammons Hall at 1:30 p.m. May 27. The signing ceremony will include Colorado State Provost Lauren Crabtree, Colorado State Interim Vice Provost for International Programs Alicia Cook, New Zealand Ambassador to the United States Jim Bolger and CEO of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Paul Hargreaves, as well as researchers from both institutions.

Colorado State researchers have collaborated with experts from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and other New Zealand scientists for many years. This collaboration has occurred in areas including water quality monitoring, environmental statistics, fish toxicology, modeling and forest hydrology.

"It is part of Colorado State’s mission as a land grant institution to contribute to the solutions of global environmental problems," Ward said. "This agreement is a wonderful example of how this can be accomplished by bringing together scientists with diverse expertise."

Before the signing ceremony, the New Zealand officials will tour the Colorado State research laboratories where joint research is being conducted.

Current collaborative research efforts include a project on fish toxicology being carried out by Will Clements, Colorado State professor of fishery and wildlife biology, and Chris Hickey, scientist with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research laboratory in Hamilton, New Zealand.

For the past 13 years, Jim Loftis, Colorado State professor in the chemical and bioresource engineering department, and Graham McBride of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, have researched the proper use of statistical methods to convert water quality data into usable information.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research focuses on the sustainable management of New Zealand’s atmospheric, marine and freshwater systems and associated resources. The institute operates with its own board of directors and its shares are held by the government. The company has a staff of 600 and annual revenue of $60 million derived from commercial enterprise and competitive research grants. The institute’s cooperate headquarters are located in Auckland, with research campuses across New Zealand in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Lauder.

Other connections Colorado State has with New Zealand include a new student exchange program with Lincoln University at Christchurch.