Marine Biotechnology Australia-Pacific summary

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Overarching science strategies, plans and policies

Both Australia and New Zealand have biotechnology strategies but neither has a specific marine biotechnology strategy. In New Zealand, the Biotechnology strategy includes marine biotechnology within environment/industry, and MoRST (Ministry of Research Science and Technology) produced a roadmap for biotechnology research in 2007, which included marine biotechnology as a specific component.

In Australia, enhancement of access to marine resources and marine science are mentioned in the National Biotechnology Strategy (2000-2008) and its successor ‘Powering Ideas – An innovation agenda for the 21st century’, but marine biotechnology is not explicitly included. Australian States including Queensland and Tasmania do however include marine biotechnology as part of their research and economic development strategies. Marine Innovation South Australia includes and Aquaculture, Biotechnology and Biodiscovery Science group. Of the Pacific Islands, Guam and Fiji seem the most active in marine biotechnology. There are no obvious national strategies, but Fiji was an early mover in biodiversity (Access and Benefit-Sharing) policy development.

Research funding schemes and programmes

Australia’s ‘Super Science Initiative’ plans to put A$1.1B into innovation science 2009-2013, approximately 45% into biotechnology, including marine biology in one of the ‘Future Industries’ themes. Australia already supports a world-class basic and applied research institute, AIMS (Australian Institute of Marine Sciences). Australia has also established the Industrial Transformation Research Program in 2011, with $236M funding, though it isn’t yet clear how much of this might be applied to marine biotechnology.

Research priorities

The New Zealand Ministry of Research, Science & Technology’s roadmap for biotechnology research recognises molecular aquaculture and marine bioactives as two of New Zealand’s research strengths.

Infrastructures and coordination and support capacities/initiatives

The Australian Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) provide translational services for industry and several of these have taken part in marine biotechnology-orientated work, in seafood genetics, Antarctic microbiology and bioremediation.


This draft summary is based on available online information sources and contributions from various country experts and stakeholders. It does not aim nor claim to be complete or final, but should be considered as a dynamic and living information resource that will be elaborated, updated and improved as more information becomes available, including further inputs from experts and stakeholders.

The information on this page is based on information initially compiled by Meredith Lloyd-Evans (BioBridge) as part of the CSA MarineBiotech Project activities (2011-2013).