Research specialties

The University of Canterbury is New Zealand’s most research-intensive university and has generated a record amount of external research funding, including receiving 10 percent of government's Marsden Fund which supports research that benefits society as a whole.

Research areas

To become a research student, find a collaborator or look for research partners, explore our research areas below.

Our areas of research strength include:

UC’s advanced materials and nanotechnology researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Nanotechnology and condensed matter
  • Natural fibres and biocomposites
  • Energy and fuel systems

Find out more about our research into advanced materials and nanotechnology.

UC’s astronomy, physics and mathematics researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Algebra, combinatorics, and logic
  • Analysis and geometry
  • Applied statistics
  • Computational mathematics
  • Dynamical systems and differential equations
  • Financial and industrial mathematics
  • History and philosophy of mathematics, and mathematics education
  • Mathematical biology
  • Theoretical and computational statistics

Find out more about our research into astronomy, physics and mathematics.

UC's biotechnology and biological sciences researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Biomolecular interactions
  • Biosafety
  • Biomedicine
  • Bioengineering
  • Antarctic studies
  • Atmospheric processes
  • Aquaculture and marine ecology
  • Climate change
  • Free Radical biochemistry
  • Freshwater ecology and management
  • Plant processes

Find out more about our research into biotechnology and biological sciences.

UC's chemical and process engineering researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Biochemical processes
  • Energy and fuel production
  • Catalysis
  • Food process engineering
  • Resources and environmental processes
  • Separation processes 
  • Simulation, control and computer modelling

Find out more about our research into chemical and process engineering.

UC's civil and natural resources engineering researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Fire engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Hydrological and ecological engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Timber engineering
  • Bridge engineering
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Structure engineering
  • Transportation engineering

Find out more about our research into civil and natural resources engineering.

UC's earthquake, disaster and resilience researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Earthquake resilience
  • Natural and geological hazards
  • Risk, resilience and renewal
  • Hazard and disaster management

Find out more out our research into earthquakes, disasters and resilience.

UC's economics and law researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Commercial and corporate law
  • Socio-legal studies
  • Biological economies

Find out more about our research into economics and law.

UC's electrical and computer engineering researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Acoustics
  • Communications, wireless and geospatial technology
  • Computational imaging
  • Power systems and electronics
  • Neural engineering

Find out more about our research into electrical and computer engineering.

UC's forestry researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Sustainable land management
  • Forest engineering
  • Forest variability
  • Forestry business management

Find out more about our research into forestry.

UC's geology and geography researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Geoarchaeology and forensic geology
  • Tectonics and landscape evolution
  • Engineering geology and hydrogeology
  • Geothermal energy

Find out more about our research into geology and geography.

UC's health science, technology and psychology researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Mathematics and statistics health and ageing research
  • Health geography
  • Health services collaboration and effectiveness
  • Epidemiology
  • Sleep problems
  • Childhood development
  • Employee resilience
  • Mental health nutrition
  • Stroke rehabilitation and recovery
  • Sport and exercise research
  • Intelligent and adaptive health systems

Find out more about our research into health science, technology and psychology.

UC's information and computer science researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Theoretical computer science and software engineering
  • Artificial intelligence and intelligent computer tutoring
  • Computer networking
  • Human-computer interaction and multimedia
  • Computer vision, computer graphics and image processing
  • Cybersecurity

Find out more about our research into information and computer sciences.

UC's learning and pedagogy researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Inclusive and special education
  • Language and literacy
  • Creativity and educational change
  • Early years development
  • Science and technology education
  • Educational theory, policy and practice
  • Māori education
  • Teacher learning and practice
  • Language pedagogy
  • e-learning
  • Geoscience education
  • Computer science education

Find out more about our research into learning and pedagogy.

UC's linguistics and communication disorders researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Speech production and perception
  • Auditory processing 
  • Child language development
  • Language, brain and behaviour

Find out more about our research into linguistics and communication disorders.

UC's Māori, Pacific and cultural studies researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Ngāi Tahu studies
  • Pacific studies
  • Asian studies
  • European studies
  • Music education and sound arts

Find out more about our research into Māori, Pacific and cultural studies.

UC's management, marketing and entrepreneurship researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Energy sector modeling
  • Sustainability and innovation
  • Water market management
  • Engineering leadership and management

Find out more about our research into management, marketing and entrepreneurship.

UC's mechanical engineering researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Acoustics and vibrations
  • Applied mechanics
  • Design
  • Electrospinning
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials science and engineering
  • Robotics, control and instrumentation
  • Thermodynamics and heat transfer

Find out more about our research into mechanical engineering.

UC's political science and international relations researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Sustainable lifestyles and civic environments
  • Conflict mediation and peace-building
  • Future studies
  • Defence and foreign policy

Find out more about our research into political science and international relations.

UC's sociology, anthropology and social work researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Human-animal studies
  • Social sciences
  • Violence reduction, prevention, and intervention

Find out more about our research into sociology, anthropology and social work.

Research Report

The breadth of our research can be also seen in the Research Report which features a selection of stories from across the extensive range of disciplines in our comprehensive university.