Preparing to launch: Impacts and Implications Programme


The Deep South’s Impacts and Implications Programme is gearing up with a recent researcher workshop and the recruitment of a new science lead – Dr Suzi Kerr.

As one of New Zealand’s foremost climate economists and researchers, Suzi, a research fellow at Motu, brings a wealth of experience and strong networks to the Challenge.  Her new role involves being a key member of the Challenge’s Science Leadership Team and leading the Challenge’s Impacts and Implications Programme (I&I).

The I&I programme will help New Zealanders thrive in a changing climate by bolstering and coordinating New Zealand’s capacity to anticipate potential impacts, understand the implications, and plan and adapt accordingly. It will build on the Climate Changes, Impacts & Implications for New Zealand (CCII) programme in some areas.

Suzi, who led economic research for the CCII programme, is focused on developing a research base for the I&I programme that is useful to end users. “I’m excited about working with the Deep South team and researchers in New Zealand to develop a strategic plan,” she said.  “Our modelling should be directed toward specific questions and produce regular outputs that are immediately useful to a specific end user.  These results can be tested with stakeholders before more resources are put into further model development and refinement of results.” 

Suzi takes over from Dr Daniel Rutledge who emigrated to The Netherlands with his family in June.  Her appointment follows a series of successful introductory webinars for I&I in June that reached around 120 stakeholders and researchers, and a workshop in Wellington in August. At the workshop, 35 climate researchers from around New Zealand met to discuss the I&I programme goals, potential projects and plan a collaborative approach.  

Outgoing Challenge Director, Professor Dave Frame, who led the workshop, said: “It was really great to bring people together for very constructive conversations. The level of collaboration in the room was very exciting.”

Mike Beare, a Science Group Leader at Plant and Food Research, who attended the workshop on behalf of the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, added: “It was a very interesting and productive discussion. I came away feeling very enthusiastic about the opportunities to bring a climate change perspective (through the I&I programme) to the Our Land and Water Land Use Suitability programme.”

Troy Baisden, a Senior Scientist at GNS, added: “The I & I workshop was a positive experience. The process got everyone’s ideas on the table first, and created an inclusive pathway forward for developing proposals and assigning leadership. Before I arrived I wouldn’t have imagined we’d leave the room with good connection between Deep South and Our Land and Water NSCs. The workshop generated a great deal of clarity and handed the task of developing workable proposals back to research leaders, where it should be.”