Industry links and collaborations

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Erskine Programme

The University of Canterbury is proud of the magnificent bequest left by a former distinguished student John Angus Erskine. This bequest enables some 70 Visiting Erskine Fellowships to be awarded each year for international visitors to give lectures. The bequest also funds up to 25 University of Canterbury academics to travel overseas.

Civil and Natural Resources Engineering has been proud to host many distinguished Erskine Fellows. A full and up-to-date list of past and present Erskine visitors is available on the Erskine Fellowship pages.

2018 Visitors


  • Michael Olsson, Oregan State University, USA, May-June 2018

Humanitarium Engineering

  • Kendra Sharp, Oregan State University, USA, July-September 2018

2016 Visitors

Construction Management

  • Professor Emeritus Hennes De Ridder, Delft University of Technology, March-April


  • Professor Ronald Andrus, Clemson University, Jan-March
  • Dr Hiroshi Yokawa, Chibu University, Japan, April 2016-March 2018


  • Associate Professor Takeshi Yamamoto, National Institute of Technology, Miyakonojo College, Japan. April 2016-April 2017

2015 Visitors


  • Anke G. Ehbrecht, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, January-April 2015
  • Dr-Ing. Rainer Schuhmann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, January-April 2015

Interaction of industries with the knowledge base of academic science is very important for the advancement of technology. Collaborations between industry and academia have become an essential component to fuel the growth engine of any nation.

Academia/industry partnerships are becoming increasingly robust and collaborative as a result of growing economic volatility, competition from emerging economies and a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

See our facilities page for details on our extensive laboratories and equipment.

The Civil and Natural Resources Engineering (CNRE) Department believes that any collaboration must be based on the foundation of acknowledging the different objectives of the stakeholders.

Our core mission is to educate budding researchers and to carefully align and integrate their education with groundbreaking fundamental research. Industry’s primary objective roams around generating profit for shareholders, often through innovation and practical use of advanced technologies. We have a proven track record of successful partnerships with various governments, private firms, research institutions, universities and individuals as well. 

Recent examples include:

UC Quake Centre

The UC Quake Centre is a dynamic partnership between the New Zealand Government, the University of Canterbury, and several leading industry groups working together in the engineering sector to provide world-class knowledge, research and solutions to seismic issues.

This was an initiative of the University of Canterbury during the 2010-2012 Canterbury earthquake period; the cost of human life, the economic disruptions and the physical upheaval of both land and infrastructure were unparalleled in New Zealand history. While the UC Quake Centre is based in Christchurch, the research and expertise fostered here will benefit all of New Zealand as an earthquake-prone country.

The centre focuses on training and fostering expertise, supporting and encouraging only the best professional practices, keeping individuals and groups informed about ongoing work and research within the sector, identifying the levels of risk facing communities and looking at ways to provide new and innovative solutions in response to those risks.

These practices ultimately establish, maintain and foster both resilient infrastructure and communities. UC Quake Centre is being recognised at an international level, with a vision to provide viable and forward-looking earthquake engineering solutions for Christchurch, New Zealand and the world.

New Zealand has a real and urgent need to better understand and counteract seismic risk by developing resourceful, innovative and world-class engineering solutions.

Quake Core

QuakeCoRE is a national network of leading New Zealand Earthquake Resilience Researchers. UC’s professors are working collaboratively on integrated multidisciplinary programmes of internationally-leading research that will support the development of an earthquake-resilient New Zealand where thriving communities have the capacity to recover rapidly after major earthquakes.

CAPTIF (Canterbury Accelerated Testing Indoor Facility)

A full-scale indoor pavement testing facility, operated in partnership with New Zealand Transport Agency.

Please see our Facilities page for detailed information on our extensive labs and workshops.

All Bachelor of Engineering with Honours students complete a Final Year Project.

The projects could fall within any of the civil engineering disciplines including architectural, earthquake, ecological/hydrological, energy, environmental, fire, fluid mechanics, geomechanics, management, materials, structural, and transportation. From 2017 some projects will be sponsored by engineering firms. While working on a real-world problem, students will be learning all the competencies they will need to practice as a professional after graduation.

Projects can include an oral presentation, poster presentation (see below for a selection of award-winning posters) and submission of a written paper.

A conference of Final Year Projects is held each year in October. The conference attempts to emulate the type of environment of a real research conference attended by professional engineers or and researchers. In keeping with our intention to emulate a real conference there will be an invited keynote speaker to launch the conference. Industry guests will also be invited to the conference. The conference is open to the public and we strongly recommend that anyone considering studying the BE(Hons) comes along to see the variety of work our students are involved in.

Industry sponsorship

Sponsoring a Final Year Project has benefits for both the University and the sponsor.  

It allows companies to develop a project which may have been sidelined due to time or funding, for a fraction of the cost of developing a project commercially.  A donation to the Canterbury Foundation of $5000 per project supports the University and sponsors retain the rights to all intellectual property.  The process also means firms can identify top students for recruitment or summer internships.

For full details on sponsoring a Final Year Project please see our CNRE final year project sponsorship flier or contact Alessandro Palermo, Projects Coordinator.


2017 Project Abstracts (PDF, 17.6 MB)

2018 Project Abstracts (PDF, 9.4 MB)

The Hopkins Lecture encourages discussion of engineering within the profession and public understanding of engineering issues. The inaugural lecture was held in 1978 with Professor HJ Hopkins himself as speaker. It covers broad and social engineering issues rather than being purely technical. 

The Hopkins Lecture is hosted by the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering and supported by the Canterbury Branch of Engineering New Zealand.

Here is the list of previous speakers and recorded lectures.

Industry-Department Partnerships