NZ – China Water Research Centre Online Workshop 2022

A major online workshop was held for Chinese and New Zealand scientists to share their latest water and climate change research and discuss strategies to strengthen collaborations between scientists in the two countries. More than 50 delegates from New Zealand and China attended, and 26 presentations were made.

New Zealand and Chinese government representatives that attended the workshop included:

  • Emily Robinson, Principal Policy Advisor from the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment.
  • Ron Xavier, Science Consul in the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing.
  • Her Excellency Consul General Ying He and Education Consul Jian Shen from the Chinese Consulate General in Christchurch.
  • Science Consul Min Gu in the Chinese Embassy in Wellington.

Emily Robinson, Consul General He, and Consul Gu addressed the workshop on behalf of the New Zealand and Chinese governments.

Professor Chad Hewitt, Provost of Lincoln University, also attended the workshop and delivered a welcome speech.

Representatives from both New Zealand and China emphasized the value of the China Research Centres (CRCC) in promoting greater cooperation between scientists from the two countries.

The subjects discussed included nutrient losses and water contamination, water use management, manure management, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, nutrient cycling, and microbial communities.

This workshop has improved research understanding between New Zealand and Chinese research teams and provided additional encouragement for closer collaboration to address some critical water quality and quantity issues and climate change concerns. One of the most encouraging aspects of the virtual workshop was the large number of junior scientists. Involvement of young scientists in partnership activities is essential for building long-term collaborations.

PhD and postdoctoral research programmes conducted at the NZ–China Water Research Centre

Currently there are a number PhD and postdoctoral research programmes underway at the centre.

• Ammonia oxidisers in New Zealand soils and their role in nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions.

The aim is to study ammonia oxidiser communities in New Zealand soils and their relationships to nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions.

• Reducing nitrate leaching by regulating drainage with tillage-centred agricultural management practices.

The aims of this study are to: 1) Identify how and under which conditions nitrate leaching can be reduced via regulating drainage using tillage-centred management practices, 2) quantify the amount of N leaching reduction that can be attributed to reduced N concentration and drainage, respectively.

• Dinitrogen(N2) and Nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes from grazed pasture soil after animal excreta deposition.

Direct N2 measurement method will be used to explore how the ratio of nitrate to carbon, and varied soil properties, affect N2O production and consumption processes under field conditions.

• Reducing phosphate losses into water by treating farm dairy effluent before application to land

The objective of this project is to determine phosphate leaching losses to artificial drains from treated farm dairy effluent compared with those from untreated FDE applied to land. The research hypothesis is: ‘that land application of treated farm dairy effluent has a lower phosphate leaching loss than untreated farm dairy effluent’.

NZ – China Water Research Centre Workshop, 21-22 November

Research collaborations within the NZ – China Water Research Centre were further strengthened this month with another NZCWRC Workshop. The purpose of regular workshops is to build enduring partnerships with Chinese collaborators by connecting different ways of thinking, sharing research strengths, and establishing joint research projects to develop novel approaches to reducing contamination of surface water and groundwater.
The 45 workshop attendees were officially welcomed by Deputy Vice Chancellors, Professor Dione Payne and Professor Grant Edwards. Emily Robinson, Senior Policy Advisor from MBIE, and Consul General from the Chinese Consulate General in Christchurch, Mr Zhijian Wang, also gave speeches on behalf of the New Zealand and Chinese governments.
Chinese researchers, from Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAS), Institute of Subtropical Agricultural Ecology, Hebei Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences and the Institute of Soil Ecology – CAS, joined NZ researchers from Lincoln University, Lincoln Agritech, AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, Landcare Research, University of Otago, ESR and SCION, to present a spectrum of fundamental and applied approaches to mitigating water contamination from agricultural activities.
Presentations from Ngāi Tahu Farming and Ravensdown representatives provided the Chinese delegates with a valuable summary of current mitigation activities within the NZ commercial sector.

The delegates then had a field trip to learn more about NZ arable and orchard systems. The day included tours of arable research plots, local nut orchards and a vineyard; followed by a discussion to identify opportunities to develop enduring collaborations.
The New Zealand – China Water Research Centre is a MBIE-catalyst fund initiative to help build collaborations. Future active research relationships built on these collaborations will be enabled through MBIE’s coordination and operational support of numerous collaborative research programmes.

Group Photo on the opening day outside the Lincoln University Library

MOU with Chinese Scholarships Council paves way for training PhD students in New Zealand

In late December 2018 an MOU between the Chinese Scholarships Council and the New Zealand-China Research Collaboration Centres was signed in Beijing.
The New Zealand China Water Research Centre has six PhD projects available, funded by the China Scholarships Council. Students will be enrolled at Lincoln University, New Zealand. The scholarship covers four years stipend and travel.
Topics include:
(i) Greenhouse gas emissions from treated farm dairy effluent;
(ii) Environmental impacts of animal excrement application and mitigation options;
(iii) Incorporation of hydrologic connectivity into land use suitability assessment for improved water utilisation and water quality outcomes;
(iv) Functional and compositional responses of soil microbial communities to the long-term application of biosolids to a coastal pine forest;
(v) Hydrological behaviour of irrigated loess landscapes.

See Scholarships section for more details.

Applications are made through the China Scholarships Council, but enquiries in the first instance should be made to Professor Hong Di, Director of the New Zealand China Water Research Centre. Email:

Successful funding application for joint research

In 2018, the Water Research Centre secured a three year MBIE Strategic Research Alliance contract with Chinese partners the Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences, and the Research Centre for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Science Leader, Professor Hong Di, from Lincoln University, says the contract provides an exciting opportunity to work with Chinese researchers to address the urgent need in both New Zealand and China to reduce nitrate pollution from livestock production systems. The dominant production system in New Zealand is outdoor pastoral grazing while in China there is a mixture of pastoral grazing and housed or feed-lot systems.

New Zealand scientists involved in the research come from Lincoln University, AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant and Food Research, and Lincoln Agritech Limited.

Lincoln University Hosts NZ China Water Research Workshop

The New Zealand China Water Research Centre recently hosted a two day workshop at Lincoln University.

Over 60 researchers from 18 Chinese institutions and nine New Zealand institutions and dairy and fertiliser companies attended the workshop. In addition, the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China, Christchurch, Mr Zhijian Wang, the Education Consul, Mr Jianjun Zhai, Katherine MacGregor, Senior Advisor to MBIE, and the Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University, Professor Robin Pollard, also attended.

The delegates presented research papers on day one, with keynote addresses by Professors Hong Di and Keith Cameron (Overview of nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emission mitigation research underway at Lincoln University); Professor Jizheng He, Research Centre for Eco-Environmental Science, CAS (Transmission of antibiotic resistance genes in agricultural ecosystems); Professor Xiying Zhang CAS, Shijiazhuang (Integrated measures to improve crop water use efficiency in the North China Plain); Professor Stewart Ledgard, AgResearch (Nitrogen and water quality indicators across livestock supply chains and an overview of the NZ-China Joint Research project on reducing the water footprint and impacts of dairy systems in China and NZ); and Professor Pute Wu, Vice-President of Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University (Water Footprint and Its Application in Agricultural Water Management).

On day two delegates visited Lincoln University’s Ashley Dene Research and Development Station, attended a powhiri and lunch at Renhua Marae and toured the Ngāi Tahu Te Whenua Hou Dairy Farms at Eyrewell.

New Zealand China Water Research Centre is a MBIE-funded initiative with objectives to collaborate with Chinese partners to study water quality and quantity issues, and develop advanced mitigation technologies to reduce water contamination and protect surface- and ground-water quality; to develop enduring partnerships with Chinese collaborators through joint research for the strategic benefits of both New Zealand and China; and to empower Māori farming communities by transferring the new knowledge and novel mitigation solutions to relevant Māori groups.

The Centre is led by Professor Hong Di and includes scientists from Lincoln Hub partners Lincoln University, AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant and Food Research and Lincoln Agritech Ltd, as well as the University of Otago.

Delegates attending the New Zealand China Water Research Centre Workshop November 2017 at Lincoln Univeristy


It was a busy first year for members of the NZ-China Water Research Centre who undertook two scoping visits to China.

Overall, the scoping tours went extremely well says Centre Director Professor Hong Di from Lincoln University. The visits provided a great opportunity for the New Zealand team to present and introduce the New Zealand – China Water Centre to key Chinese institutions and scientists, gauge interest in collaborating, and explore opportunities for joint research projects, staff exchanges and joint student training.

Members of the NZ-China Water Research Centre also led and participated in three stakeholder workshops, two in China and one in New Zealand.

In Jinan, in October 2016, more than 70 participants including from the New Zealand Dairy Cooperative Fonterra, New Zealand Embassy in Beijing, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Ministry of Agriculture of China, local animal government departments and research providers, several China dairy companies, local environmental protection agency, Tsinghua University, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and China Agricultural University took part in a symposium the “Circular Economy – Sustainable Farm Manure Utilization”.

In November 2016 a delegation from the Yunnan Department of Science & Technology, who have worked closely with the New Zealand’s Crown Research Institute Plant and Food Research for many years, visited New Zealand. At Lincoln, the NZ – China Water Research Centre hosted a workshop session on water and agriculture. Participants included Lincoln University, Lincoln Hub, Plant and Food Research, Lincoln Agritech, Landcare Research, Croplogic Ltd., Irrigation NZ, Mainland Grazing Ltd. The session purpose was to introduce the Yunnan Delegation to potential research and commercial opportunities.

Also in November 2016 a “Soil-Plant Interaction” workshop was held at Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU) in Wuhan China and was attended by Dr Wenhua Wei representing the NZ-China Water Research Centre and three scientists from New Zealand’s Crown Research Institute Scion, which specialises in research, science and technology development for the forestry, wood and wood-derived materials sectors. The two-day workshop had 42 attendees mainly from HZAU and Institute of Subtropical Agricultural Ecology (ISAE) of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Lincoln to Host NZ-China Water Research Centre

Press release

1 July 2016

Lincoln University has been named by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce as one of three successful applicants to host a New Zealand-China Research Collaboration Centre, receiving a total of $1.25 million worth of funding over five years.

The New Zealand-China Water Research Centre will be based at Lincoln University, with partners AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research, Lincoln Agritech Ltd, and University of Otago.

The Water Research Centre will coordinate and facilitate long-term collaborations between New Zealand and Chinese scientists to develop research strategies relevant to both countries around water quality and quantity. Issues such as ground and surface water contamination by agrichemicals and poor water use efficiency of irrigation are common in China and New Zealand.

A multidisciplinary team with an outstanding track record both in the scientific disciplines of water research and in collaborating with China has been assembled. Their expertise spans groundwater hydrology, solute and water transport, irrigation management, nutrient losses to waterways, waste management, microbial ecology, water foot-printing and bioinformatics.

The team will be led by Lincoln University Soil and Environmental Science Professor Hong Di. Professor Di has had extensive collaborations with a number of Chinese Institutions. He said that the establishment of the New Zealand-China Water Research Centre is a fantastic opportunity and will provide a huge boost for developing better coordinated and targeted collaborations between New Zealand and Chinese scientists.

The New Zealand-China Water Research Centre will be an important platform for the creation of novel skills and knowledge on water quality and quantity research, the establishment of enduring partnerships, the development of advanced mitigation strategies to reduce water contamination by agrichemicals, increased cultural understanding, enhanced Māori engagement with China, and increased awareness of New Zealand as a centre of excellence in research and development in the areas of water quality and quantity for high quality food production.