News and updates

Genomics Aotearoa - Process for New Projects

Genomics Aotearoa is developing new projects in the next few months, and would be grateful for your input or involvement. The Science Leadership Team, in partnership with the Kāhui and with input from the International Advisory Panel and Board, has proposed areas of focus for new Genomics Aotearoa projects within our three key themes of health, environment and primary production. These new areas are:


Functional genomics (epigenomics, 3D structure of the genome)

Translational pharmacogenomics

Pathogen genomics

Primary production /  Environment

Genomics for biosecurity

All three themes

Māori genomics data sovereignty and intellectual property

Māori-led and/or co-developed projects in any area of genomics


The process for developing Genomics Aotearoa work plans and projects is:

·         GA partners and associates are asked to contribute their views on how to progress the proposed new focus areas. Based on this input, SLT will refine the areas of focus.

·         An invitation will be extended to partners, associates and researchers to propose project ideas. 

·         Each project will be defined, planned and developed via a workshop process (invitation only).

·         This will be written as a work plan.

·         Critique will be provided by the IAP and Kāhui.

·         The project work plan will be submitted to the Board and MBIE for approval.

For more details on the process, please see

This email is the step in which we invite you to contribute your views on how to progress these new focus areas. If you would like to have input into the project process, have ideas you wish to discuss, or are keen to be involved in a project, please email Genomics Aotearoa by 30 October 2019.

Pūtaiao Māori Summit - Queenstown Research Week

This one-day workshop highlights the increasing presence of Māori in contemporary rangahau pūtaiao (scientific research) and provides examples of the scope of activities and associated Te Ao-Māori centred issues. Presenters will include iwi representatives, kairangahau (researchers), and Māori bioethicists, with a particular focus on genomics-informed health research and use of genomic data.

The meeting is an opportunity for scientists to present their research that provides examples of associated Te Ao-Māori centred issues to the wider community. Consultative approaches, innovative uses, and applied science solutions will be explored with a particular focus on genomics-informed health research and use of genomic data. Presentations could also focus on research design, (tikanga, practices, resolution, consultation process).

For more information click here.

Plant & Food Research Summer Studentships

PFR has a number of Maori summer studentships available from November 2019 through to February 2020. Below are the key dates for people who are looking for summer positions at one of the PFR locations.

 Monday 5 August 2019: The project list for 2019/2020 will be available on the Plant & Food Research website ( and the Summer Studentship projects advertised in the website career section NZUniCareerHub and Waikato MyCareer along with University social media pages and Seek.

Summer Studentship Launch Dates

University of Auckland
Monday 5 August 2019, 4.30pm - 6.00pm 
School of Biological Sciences
Tea Room, Level 2, Thomas Building, 3a Symonds Street, Auckland

University of Otago
Wednesday 14 August 2019, 4.30pm - 6.30pm
Main Common Room, The Link, Cnr Albany and Cumberland Streets, Dunedin

Friday 30 August 2019 – Closing date for applications by students.

September 2019 – Interviews to be held.

September/October 2019 – Applicants notified of results of interview.

18 November 2019 – Start date for all students with coordinated induction day for them at the appropriate Plant & Food research campuses covering an introduction to Plant & Food Research, laboratory and Health and Safety training, Human Resources etc.

21 February 2020 – Final farewell function for students.

 The key contact who will be looking after the students is Jenny Green (based at MARC site) 

Ira Moana Early Career Workshop 27-31 May 2019

The ‘Ira Moana – Genes of the Sea – Network and Database’ is a collaborative, Catalyst Seeding funded initiative aiming to deliver a searchable database for genetic and genomic data of New Zealand’s biodiversity. The Workshop is designed to develop base skills and solidify the networks of early career scientists (from any discipline), preparing them for this new data resource.

New Zealand early career scientists (including postgraduate students and those up to 8 years post-PhD) with an interest in using or exploring genetic data in a spatially explicit context, with relevance to local communities, measuring of biodiversity values, spatial conservation planning, and science communication and education (and ideas of their own), should apply!

The number of workshop participants will be capped at 25 persons. The Workshop will be FREE, and for successful applicants from outside of Auckland, all accommodation (Mon-Thurs) and travel to/from the Workshop will be paid for by the Ira Moana Project. See outline here.

Interested applicants should outline (in no more than 1 page): their research interests (or applied interests) in exploring the Ira Moana database, and any relevant experience or expertise. Applications should be sent to Dr. Libby Liggins, by 5pm Tuesday, April 9.

Attendees should have some experience in using the R programming environment. See FAQ’s here.

SING USA 2019 applications open now

SING USA 2019 will be held in Urbana-Champagne, Illinois, from July 28th to August 4th. The focus for their workshop will be epigenetics, transcriptomics, historic trauma, and resiliency. The programme is primarily open to Native students from USA but SING Aotearoa will have scholarships for two alumni to attend. A flyer about the SING USA 2019 workshop can be found here.

SING Aotearoa 2019

SING Aotearoa 2019 is being held in Palmerston North from Jan 21-25th. The focus for the coming year will be non-human genomics and we are working with Massey University, Plant and Food Research, AgResearch, and the Riddet Institute to organise activities for the workshop.

Bridging the Gap:

In a bid to ease a history of mistrust a summer workshop trains Indigenous scientists in genomics. This article in Science is out today:  . It describes the development of the SING programme in the USA and how it has enhanced relationships between indigenous communities and genomic researchers. Our own Anezka Hoskins, one of the SING Aotearoa Alumni Scholarship recipients, is mentioned in the article too. You can download a copy of the article here.

SING Canada

From July 29 – August 4, 2018, the inaugural SING Canada was held at Simon Fraser University
(SFU) near Vancouver, British Columbia. It was hosted by SFU and co-organized with the Indigenous
Science, Technology, and Society (ITS)
research group at the University of Alberta. 18 interns and 2 Indigenous community involvement and policy staff members from the Silent Genomes research project attended this workshop.  Participants came from across Canada and the US including Métis, Mi’kmaq, Nishnawbek, Anishinaabe, Cree, Gitxsan, Dakelth, Inuit, Mohawk, Choctaw, and Jñatrjo (Mazahua)/Ñuu Savi (Mixtec) Indigenous people.

Silent Genomes Gathering Ceremony

Maui Hudson and Phil Wilcox attended the gathering ceremony and launch of the Silent Genomes research project on 18/19 July 2018 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada . One of the aims of the projects is to develop the governance policy and protocols to manage an Indigenous Background Variant Library which will be used to improve the quality of genetic diagnosis for First Nations children.

SING Seattle 2018

SING USA was held at the University of Washington in Seattle from 24-29th July 2018. SING Aotearoa conveners Maui Hudson and Phil Wilcox were invited to participate as faculty/mentors and spoke about the development of the cultural guidelines. They were joined by SING Alumni Scholarship recipients Jordan Housiaux and Anezka Hoskins.  It was great spending a week talking about indigenous genomics with over 40 indigenous faculty and students.