Research in Science

Sarah Kessan

The College of Science has a very broad research base including spectroscopy applied to trace analysis (SIFT), New Zealand’s unique ecology, the human geography of exposure to environmental chemicals, protein biochemistry, molecular biology, volcanology, the neurochemistry of psychological processes, bioactive compounds from marine fauna, Antarctica, and food chemistry and toxicology.

Departments and Programmes

Biological Sciences is a vibrant community where research and learning can be fascinating and fun. Our outlook on Biology spans all types of organisms, all scales of biological systems - from molecules to ecosystems - and all research perspectives - from energetics to evolution. Learn more

A department's research activity reflects its vitality. The graduate research programme at UC offers an exceptional opportunity to talented students who are preparing themselves for careers in Chemistry. Our staff and research students are engaged in a variety of projects which cover areas of chemical research of international importance. Learn more

The mission of the Department of Communication Disorders at the University of Canterbury is to achieve national and international excellence in research, clinical service, and education in human communication sciences and disorders. We work together in an environment of integrity, co-operation, enthusiasm, and mutual respect. Learn more

The purpose of Gateway Antarctica is to contribute to increased understanding and more effective management of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean by being a focal point and a catalyst for Antarctic scholarship, attracting national and international participation in collaborative research, analysis, learning and networking. Learn more

Departmental researchers operate within three flexible research clusters that evolve in response to project opportunities, and current staffing and student interests:

Health and Environment

This research group focuses upon the ways in which the social and physical environment interact to influence personal health outcomes and health behaviours.

Earth Atmosphere Processes

Research work in this area concentrates on atmospheric, coastal, and snow and ice processes. There is a strong tradition of both pure and applied atmospheric research with cross links to the Health and Environment theme, as well as to alpine work on energy balances. There is a strong focus on studies of local and regional wind systems, using field and modelling investigations, as well as on air pollution and boundary layer research. 

Culture, Politics and Society

Key themes of work in this research cluster include a continuing interest in development issues, cultural studies, landscape and memory, and environmental history.

Learn more about research in Geography at UC.

Much of the research in the department is of a collaborative nature involving staff or groups of staff working with postgraduate students, senior fellows and research associates within and outside the Department. There is a significant external collaboration with international colleagues, local and federal government agencies, and other research institutions. 

This pattern of working has come about from the recognition that a multifaceted or multidisciplinary approach provides a more powerful tool for geological research. The pattern has also been strongly influenced by the change in funding mechanisms available in New Zealand and the trend towards programme-orientated research. Learn more

The Department manages New Zealand's largest telescopes at Mount John University Observatory, near Lake Tekapo. We also have atmospheric research activities at Scott Base and Antarctica.

Medical physics activities occur at Christchurch and St Georges Hospitals and we have recently joined the CERN Medipix collaboration. UC recently joined the consortium building the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT).

We have joined the Compact Muon Solenoid collaboration which studies proton collisions from the CMS detector at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. Learn more 

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour and its associated biological and mental processes. It is a rapidly developing field touching on all aspects of human endeavour. The goal of a scientific understanding of human behaviour and its underlying mental processes is supplemented by investigations of animal behaviour. Psychologists systematically test ideas and beliefs against phenomena that are measurable, and open to observation by others. Learn more 

The University of Canterbury Centre for Risk, Resilience and Renewal (UCR3) was founded in 2013 to meet the demand for university level emergency management practitioner professional development and education. It uses the experiences and strengths of one of the top 250 universities in the world (QS World Ratings 2012), to bring a dynamic and evidence-based series of professional development short courses and qualifications, delivered by postgraduate faculty with international experience. Learn more

Research Institutes and collaborations

Explore our full research interests on UC Spark