keynote speakers









Sarah Mager
Lecturer – University of Otago









Ken Taylor
Director of Our Land and Water National Science Challenge

Ken Taylor is the Director of the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, one of the country’s eleven science challenges set up to deal with complex national issues that require research for their resolution .. The challenge mission is to enhance primary sector production and productivity while maintaining and improving our land and water quality for future generations. The Challenge has a strong emphasis on working collaboratively with stakeholders and users of science to ensure that its research findings are relevant, accessible and applicable.

Prior to taking up the role with the Challenge in April 2016. Ken was Director of Science at Environment Canterbury, responsible for meeting the information needs of the organisation and its community with respect to the quantity and quality of natural resources in the region. This included:

 Carrying out investigations to characterise resources, understand the biophysical processes that drive changes in the nature and quality of resources and define limits to resource use
 Providing effective input to both collaborative and statutory processes that contribute to good outcomes for Canterbury

In recent years this work involved a growing emphasis on redefining both the design and delivery of science to respond more effectively to the ways communities of interest identify, process and contextualise information needs. This shift in approach is reflected in the way the Challenge wishes to operate.

Since 2009 Ken has been actively involved in the Land and Water Forum. For several years he has chaired the National Objectives Framework reference group, a joint initiative of the ministries of Primary Industry and the Environment, and the Forum, to help develop one of the central elements of the government’s water reform package.








Michael Fienen & Daniel Feinstein

Michael Fienen Bio:
Dr. Mike Fienen is a Research Hydrologist specializing in groundwater modeling, parameter estimation, statistical and probabilistic modeling, and uncertainty analysis at the USGS Wisconsin Water Science Center in Middleton, Wisconsin USA. A native of Minnesota, Mike earned a B.A. in Geology with a Russian Language minor from Macalester College in 1993. He then embarked on a consulting career where he conducted field investigations throughout the US and the Pacific Ocean and performed groundwater and air dispersion modeling studies. In 2000, Mike enrolled in the Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology program in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Stanford University, earning an M.S. degree in 2002 and a Ph.D. in 2006. Mike was a National Research Council postdoctoral research associate from 2006-2008 at the USGS in Wisconsin, converting to a Hydrologist position in 2008 and his current Research Hydrologist position in 2011. Mike is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. When not working on modeling projects, Mike can usually be found bicycling, playing music, traveling, cooking, or some combination of those pursuits.

Daniel Feinstein Bio:
Mr. Feinstein studied ground-water modeling at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before working as a consultant on remediation projects for Papadopulos & Associates and Geraghty & Miller. In 1997 Mr. Feinstein joined the USGS where his current research interests include simulation and protection of groundwater-dominated wetlands, statistical models which emulate process-driven simulations of groundwater processes, and transport models which forecast heat flow under climate change. Mr. Feinstein is an adjunct professor at the Geosciences Department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and teaches modeling courses in Italy.

Abstracts Close In

Key Dates

  • Abstract submissions open – 1 Jun
  • Abstract submissions close – 13 Aug
  • Author notification –20 Sept
  • Earlybird registration closes – 21 Oct