Predator Free 2050 to co-fund $1.2 million towards Biosecurity Spearhead

28 March 2022 | Read time: 3 minutes

Hero image for news page predator free cofund 770x400 v2

The Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge (SfTI) is pleased to announce that we will be joining forces with Predator Free 2050 (PF2050 Ltd) to help tackle the ambitious goal of ridding Aotearoa of predators by 2050. 

PF 2050 Ltd is co-funding our Biosecurity Technology Spearhead Research Project with $1.2 million in recognition that this research project team will be developing new technology that could prove to be key to achieving a Predator Free Aotearoa by 2050. 

SfTI’s Biosecurity Technology Spearhead Research Project: Detecting the last Predator is developing smart networked sensors that will use Artificial Intelligence to detect the last predators in New Zealand’s vast landscapes. Predator Free 2050 NZ has been on the look out for research projects like this that will help it deliver on its mission.

PF2050 Ltd Science Director Professor Dan Tompkins said this funding is one of several projects that are starting to tackle some of the biggest hurdles that need overcoming for PF2050 Ltd’s mission success.

“When we look at our current approaches for predator management, and what these can achieve both now and likely in the future, we see some capability gaps. Most critical is the need for new approaches for predator eradication at a greater scale in New Zealand’s backcountry,” Prof Tompkins said.


“This latest round of funding is focussed on advancing breakthrough science solutions that could really help, and we’re excited to see the opportunities that these initial steps will open up.” He said. 

SfTI’s Biosecurity Spearhead Project Co-leader, Dr Tara Strand from Scion, feels this is a great recognition for SfTI’s research team.

“We know we have an amazing group of people that are applying their knowledge and skill towards this tricky biosecurity problem. Our diverse team was selected through SfTI’s Mission Design Process, and based on this process the team identified that focussing this Spearhead on technology that can detect small numbers of predators in vast landscapes would have the greatest potential impact for NZ.” Said Dr Strand

Hero image Possumbird2. Nga Manu Images 1
Image provided by New Zealand’s Biological Heritage | Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho National Science Challenge

“The co-funding from Predator Free 2050 not only shows recognition that this team is going in the right direction but will help get us to our ultimate shared goal of ridding this country of predators in time to truly protect our future biodiversity.” She said.

Find out more about SfTI’s Biosecurity Technology Spearhead Research Project here.

Plus, find out more about the exploratory mission design workshops here.