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New Zealand, Australia Forge Partnership to Support Earth, Space Research Projects

researcher using microscope

New Zealand and Australia are working together to advance Earth and space science research.

Judith Collins, New Zealand’s space minister, welcomed the agreement, saying the collaboration will bring “real-world benefits to New Zealanders.”

“New Zealand has an innovative space sector. This partnership presents exciting opportunities for it to grow and thrive. It is also an opportunity to work together to solve trans-Tasman challenges,” she added.

The collaboration agreement makes up to $6 million available over three years through the Catalyst Fund, a Kiwi government initiative that aims to support the research community. It is open to NZ researchers who will participate in projects under Australia’s SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre, which brings together hundreds of experts from across 135 national and international organizations.

The projects must focus on three areas: Earth observation, space situational awareness and optical communications. 

Earth observation projects can provide insights about the environment and climate. Research in this area could contribute to better monitoring of biosecurity risks and improved crop management.

Meanwhile, space situational awareness projects will focus on identifying innovative ways to make global space activities more sustainable.

Optical communication projects will explore how to safely and securely send large volumes of data between Earth and space.

The NZ government intends to issue a call for research proposals in the coming months.

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