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Genomics for Aotearoa New Zealand Concept Business Plan

By Kelly Buehler1, Robert John Elshire2, Robyn Johnston3, Daniel M Spector1, Alison Stringer4, Finlay Thompson5

1. GFANZ 2. The Elshire Group Limited 3. The Elshire Group Ltd 4. GFANZ Councillor, Independent 5. Dragonfly Data Science

The Genomics For Aotearoa New Zealand (GFANZ) platform will enable a step change for genomics in New Zealand.

It is clear to genomics researchers that technology and methodologies change so rapidly that trying to pick the...

Listed in Publications

Version 1.0 - published on 25 Oct 2017

Licensed under CCBY - Creative Commons Attribution according to these terms


The Genomics For Aotearoa New Zealand (GFANZ) platform will enable a step change for genomics in New Zealand.

It is clear to genomics researchers that technology and methodologies change so rapidly that trying to pick the ‘winners’ at the start of a 7 year programme would be akin to selecting a computer technology in 1980 and expecting it to do everything you would want in 2016. Rather than trying to predict what the best technologies will be several years down the track, we have designed a platform that is agile enough to test and adopt the most promising new technologies as they come online. Our platform will foster scientific excellence by providing a place to conduct science according to best practice, adhering to the principle of openness and requiring the publication of both negative and positive results. This is often not achievable with the typical constraints under which researchers work. By providing a test bed for science as it should be done, we will capture the attention of the international scientific community and attract collaborators interested in shifting best practice from theory to reality.

Our platform design promotes the uptake of open science standards. These standards enable wide dissementation of findings, transparency in the scientific process and ease of collaboration with rest of the world.

We have assembled a panel of world-leading experts who have agreed to advise our community on the latest developments in genomics technologies and its applications as well as data science and data ethics. The makeup of our preliminary international Science Advisory Board demonstrates some of our existing relationships at the leading-edge of genomics research with the people and institutions pushing on that edge.

Our team encompasses expertise, not only in genomics but also in the other areas required for a genomics platform; intellectual property, open science, citizen science, information ethics, data architecture, research design, business spin-ups, governance design, and more. GFANZ will have staff and advisors with high level statistical, bioinformatic, computer science and data science skills. Together, we will work with genomics researchers across New Zealand to evaluate advanced methodologies using best practices and broadly and rapidly share results. Assisting researchers with their experimental design and data management plans will ensure scientific excellence.

Our Give it a Go grant programme provides a mechanism for rapid testing of new technologies and dissemination of both positive and negative results. The funding model for this programme encourages connection via a compoundable grant to aid in cross-institutional collaboration.

We propose just one exemplar research programme – a genomics-based breeding programme in Kauri to identify genomic regions responsible for resistance to the pathogen responsible for Kauri Dieback and breed resistant lines. This programme is more than simply research into the application of genomics technologies to breeding PTA resistance. It is research into how we, in an isolated, multicultural society, can work together to reach the common goal of saving and renewing Kauri forests, while forging a shared vision of a confluence of traditional knowledge and genomics to benefit all of New Zealand. This programme will serve as a training ground for scientific best practice, and to build collaborations for Māori and Pākehā scientists alike.

This platform is modern, agile, inclusive and offers a pathway to a future vision well beyond business as usual.

Previously published on the first generation site. Archival copy available here:

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Buehler, K., Elshire, R., Johnston, R., Spector, D. M., Stringer, A., Thompson, F. (2017). Genomics for Aotearoa New Zealand Concept Business Plan.

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This version has the following modifications from the version submitted to MBIE: Contact information was removed (to prevent spam) and a line total was added to section 5.2.

We do not include the CVs that were submitted to MBIE with the proposal to protect the private information of our collaborators.

Please note that this plan was limited in length by the CFP. Additionally, the brevity required some of the text to be very dense.

The included NZGOVT_REFERENCES.TXT file has links to official web sites and government documents that were consulted during the design of the concept business plan to ensure that it would meet not only the requirements in the CFP, but the bigger picture policy goals as well.

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our colleagues in the NZ genomics community, our international advisory panel, our emeritus scientists and the many everyday Kiwi’s who provided the inspiration and the support necessary to produce this piece of work. Thank you so much. This is for you.

Previously published on the first generation site. Archival copy available here: