The national TB Plan has included a significant R&D programme for more than 20 years. With the Plan’s eradication goals established, the focus for research is to inform the design and performance of OSPRI’s animal health and operational programmes.

We are particularly interested in research on the relationship between pest/carrier species and disease transmission. Research focused on developing and implementing new tools and processes for vector control, and on understanding the ecology of wildlife vectors, is ongoing.

Research in the field

OSPRI research continues to increase our understanding of several areas critical to the long-term health of New Zealand’s agricultural and environmental future: disease diagnostics and management, epidemiology, ecology and pest eradication.

Field and laboratory research are directed at developing and implementing new tools and processes for vector control and understanding the ecology of wildlife vectors and TB. We contribute to veterinary science and epidemiology, biology, engineering and environmental science.

The TB Plan has targets of freedom from TB in livestock by 2026, freedom from TB in possums by 2040 and TB eradication from New Zealand by 2055. To achieve these outcomes, $2 million to $2.5 million needs to be invested each year.

Collaborative research

Where OSPRI research programmes, projects or outcomes benefit other organisations which are part of the biosecurity or biodiversity framework of New Zealand, we share costs, personnel and data with them. 

The Department of Conversation manages the Crown Estate and much of its environmental protection work involves predator control. Our possum control research in support of TB eradication often combines with DOC's work to produce biodiversity benefits for native flora and fauna. DOC's research on improvements in bird nesting success after aerial 1080 operations further highlights the benefits of OSPRI's work.

Research on such aspects of possum and predator control undertaken by Zero Invasive Pests (ZIP) are also of interest to OSPRI and Predator Free 2050. For example, in projects such as Taranaki Mounga, in which OSPRI is a delivery agent, the operational methodology trialled by ZIP that produces 100 percent kill from aerial operations is used in a broad collaboration eradicating predators from Egmont National Park.

Beyond TB

Our research has benefits beyond the TB eradication programme, increasing our understanding of livestock and wildlife animal health management and disease detection, surveillance, monitoring and control.

The significant biodiversity benefits of OSPRI pest control contribute to the goals of Predator Free 2050 and collaborations with other agencies support programmes such as the Department of Conservation’s Tiakina Ngā Manu / Battle for our Birds.

Other research

We also support post-graduate and post-doctoral study programmes as part of our research investment.

You can find out more about our current research and development activities and projects in our latest Annual Report.