Welcome Genomics Aotearoa: New platform supporting genomics and bioinformatics in NZ
New Zealand's newest collaborative research platform for genomics and bioinformatics research is hiring its first employees and preparing to launch its services. In February, Genomics Aotearoa finalised its contract with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (Strategic Science Investment Fund) and Genomics Aotearoa’s host, University of Otago. Led by Prof. Peter Dearden, it's a welcome and exciting addition to NZ's research infrastructure, and NeSI Director Nick Jones says he sees opportunities for collaboration.
"I've sent our congratulations to Peter and his team, and I look forward to building a productive partnership with Genomics Aotearoa to support NZ's genomics researchers' access to computational tools, expertise, and resources that are state-of-the-art in their field," said Jones.
Collaborations have already begun. In November, Genomics Aotearoa arranged a series of workshops with the University of Otago, the Centre for eResearch at the University of Auckland, and NeCTAR to test-drive Genomics Virtual Laboratory (GVL), an Australia-made cloud-based suite of genomics analysis tools for research and training, with New Zealand researchers. NeSI staff assisted by providing training support for the sessions.
Genomics Aotearoa team members also attended eResearch NZ 2018, co-hosted by NeSI and REANNZ, in February. In particular, Kim Handley, a Rutherford Discovery Fellow in the School for Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland, was a keynote speaker and shared a researcher's perspective from the field of metagenomics and of Genomics Aotearoa.
Kim highlighted the value and growing demand for access to computing resources, and noted that NeSI’s platforms have been critical to her work. She echoed other speakers in identifying training and upskilling as gaps to be filled, and noted that metagenomic summer schools are planned as part of Genomics Aotearoa’s outreach and engagement activities.
Genomics Aotearoa has a placeholder web page at genomics-aotearoa.org.nz, which will soon be replaced with a full branded website. Two vacancies are currently being advertised, to kick off inaugural roles with the new organization: