Strategic Science Advisory Group

Science is critical to New Zealand’s response to the Mycoplasma bovis disease, and accelerating its eradication from New Zealand.

Role of the group

On 28 May 2018, the Government announced it was investing up to $30 million over 2 years into science to support the eradication of the cattle disease M. bovis from New Zealand.

The Mycoplasma bovis Strategic Science Advisory Group (SSAG) was established soon after to help identify science priorities and develop a science plan to guide research funding decisions. Members of the SSAG include domestic and international expert scientists, vets and government representatives.

Science plan will help speed up eradication

Released in October 2018, the M. bovis science plan’s objective is to identify the highest-priority science needed to eradicate the disease from New Zealand.

It builds on existing knowledge about the M. bovis bacteria and disease, and knowledge from the dairy and beef sectors and the response teams.

The science plan was developed with input from local and international experts from science, veterinary, and educational organisations, industry, and government agencies. 

SSAG science plan [PDF, 1.2 MB]

Science priorities

The science plan identifies research priorities within nine key science areas:

  • social and economic impact
  • behaviour, drivers and incentives
  • effective communication
  • data acquisition and architecture
  • entry pathways
  • diagnostics
  • epidemiology
  • understanding the pathogen
  • direct impact of the disease.

Procurement approaches for each science area will depend on a range of factors, including the nature of the research, and the capability and/or facilities required.

Mycoplasma bovis SSAG Science Plan proposals

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is seeking proposals from organisations to carry out the diagnostics research outlined in the science plan.  

Proposals will be accepted through the Government Electronic Tendering Services (GETS) website from 20 May to 19 June 2019.

Note: Raise questions relating to the diagnostics research proposal through the GETS website. These can be lodged up until 5 June 2019. MPI has until 10 June to respond to any questions.

Only queries sent through GETS will be answered.

SSAG members 

Members include local and international expert scientists, vets, and government representatives.

John Roche

Departmental science adviser – MPI.

Nigel French

Distinguished professor and executive director – Infectious Disease Research Centre, Massey University.

Axel Heiser

Senior scientist – AgResearch. 

Trish McIntosh

Director – North Canterbury Vets.

Hamish Gow

Professor of Agribusiness – Massey University. 

James Turner

Resource economist and senior social scientist – AgResearch.

Shaun Hendy

Director – Te Pūnaha Matatini, University of Auckland.

Prue Williams

General manager – Science System Investment and Performance, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. 

Mary van Andel

Principal adviser – MPI.

Glenn Browning

Professor and director Asia-Pacific Centre for Animal Health – Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne.

Cameron Stewart

Senior research scientist – Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO.

William McMillian

Independent agribusiness consultant and scientist – Kaiārahi Ahuwhenua, Federation of Māori Authorities.

Roger Ayling

Private consultant with extensive M. bovis research experience, UK. 

Find out more 

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