Southland offers a combination of elements which make it an ideal base for a range of scientific research projects. The great diversity of landscape and ecosystems provide a rich resource for ecologists and other environmental research developments.

The region's geographical location and low electromagnetic noise levels make it well suited for radio astronomy, ionosphere research and tracking of spacecraft. These elements have drawn many scientists to the region and the presence of this high level of expertise has seen Southland develop as a centre of excellence in some science-related fields.


Some projects have been undertaken by individual businesses looking to develop better practices or new products; others have been initiated by national or international organisations such as the SuperDARN Network and the European Space Agency. Organisations such as the Southern Institute of Technology, healthcare consultants, Environment SouthlandDepartment of Conservation and other local government organisations such as Venture Southland, undertake a range of research projects within Southland.

A Developing Space Industry

Venture Southland promotes and manages the investment, development, maintenance and operation of satellite ground stations at Awarua and Lochiel. At present, additional space-based services are being developed from the ground stations for the delivery of near real-time Earth images to support agriculture and fisheries, search and rescue operations, and disaster recovery.

The space industry contributes to the development of high-value skills and world-class jobs. Southland has invested heavily in earth knowledge systems associated with soils, crops, climate and hydrology which when coupled with remote earth observation, provide unique investment opportunities.