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

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 graduate research programme at Canterbury offers an exceptional opportunity to talented students who are preparing themselves for careers in Astronomy, Chemistry or Physics.

Graduate training at Canterbury is aimed toward developing within each student the ability to do creative scientific research. The most important facet of the programme for a research student is his or her own original research project. 

The opportunities for research are favourable and a research environment is encouraged by all staff, most of whom dedicate a large portion of their time to research and are concerned to ensure that the standing of the School is recognised in the international scientific community.

Our teaching and research areas are diverse and we boast many international links, offering research students an extensive network and career opportunities. Learn more


The School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing is home to the The Psychology Centre, and Speech and Hearing Clinics, providing students with first-hand experience in real-world research and clinical environments.

With a burgeoning post-graduate programme and new doctoral-level faculty in diverse areas of psychology, communication disorders, audiology, swallowing rehabilitation and stroke recovery, the School's research profile is rapidly expanding. 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