Linking with other independent research organisations

15 December, 2021

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Dragonfly Data Science is now a member of IRANZ, the Independent Research Association of New Zealand. The association promotes connections between member organisations and with government.

Finlay says joining IRANZ highlights one of the original purposes of Dragonfly, which is to offer an alternative model for carrying out research.

“It’s not just universities and CRIs (Crown research institutes) that have research happening – there are quite a few other organisations like us out there. Different settings enable people to find a place that suits them to work, or to get work done.”

Independent status has enabled Dragonfly to be more flexible than more formally constituted organisations like universities.

“We’ve been able to pivot and broaden our focus as we’ve grown, rather than being limited to a single sector. Also, some clients are much happier working with us than contracting to organisations with closer links to government. We sometimes find ourselves acting as a broker between different groups.”

Finlay has been to a couple of IRANZ meetings and thinks their engagement model works well. A high priority at the moment is providing feedback on Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways.

“I believe the reforms of the science system in the 1980s were aimed at creating a more flexible and competitive sector. At that time there were few independent research organisations but they have proliferated and grown in the last 30 years. Dragonfly is an example of exactly that – when Ed started the company in 2006 it was a relatively new idea, but now there are many like us. I’ve found it interesting to see how similar organisations are set up and structured.”

“Joining IRANZ has already been incredibly useful. Since we’ve become members I’ve been able to participate in conversations with senior leaders in government and other organisations. We also had time with the Minister of Research, Science and Innovation at last week’s meeting, as well as a number of MBIE officials.”

“I was worried that the members of IRANZ would be disgruntled outsiders, but they are mostly confident providers that service particular communities. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it’s turned out to be really helpful. My expectations have definitely been exceeded.”

IRANZ has been operating since 2009. Other member organisations include BRANZ, Cawthron Institute, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Mātai and Motu.

Top image: IRANZ.