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

  • Biomolecular interactions
  • Biosafety
  • Biomedicine
  • Bioengineering
  • Antarctic studies
  • Atmospheric processes
  • Aquaculture and marine ecology
  • 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 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 Māori, Pacific and cultural studies researchers are working in the areas of:

  • Ngāi Tahu studies
  • Pacific studies
  • Asian studies
  • European studies

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

UC’s 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 mathematics.

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.