The Allan Wilson Centre has now closed. Thank you for your support of our work over the past 14 years. As the host of the highly successful and important Allan Wilson Centre since its foundation in 2002, we at Massey University were deeply disappointed when the decision was made by Government to discontinue its funding. The Centre was one of the original seven Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE) and was, without doubt, one of its brightest stars. Its work focused on the genome and what research could tell us that would advance our understanding of biodiversity as well as human and environmental health.
While Massey University was host, the Centre was a functioning partnership including 100 plus researchers from the University of Auckland, Victoria University, University of Otago, University of Canterbury, Landcare and Plant and Food. They produced an outstanding body of work that garnered them a world reputation as evidenced by the calibre of people who joined the International Advisory Board. And they were well governed most recently by a Board led by Jim McLean.
With all that has been achieved, why then was the Centre not funded? The answer to that question lies with the Government and the review group. But it is worth noting that funds were limited while the demand was pronounced - something had to give. As one of the Centres that had been funded for fourteen years perhaps those who made the decision felt it was simply time to support a new endeavour. I like to think this is the case because it is vital that the work of the Centre continues in some form.
Without funding, how this work will be continued remains a question. It has, however, been a sign of how strong the connections between members of the Centre have become, that the process of winding down has been guided by an agreement that everything must be done to facilitate a next step – whatever that may be.
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In other words great work is not to be undermined. Great work in the areas the Centre became known for will flourish.
On behalf of Massey University I want to thank everyone who has been part of the Centre’s history and urge them to ensure what has been achieved forms the basis of exciting and important work in the future.