Category Archives: UC News

Celebrating Fresh Thinking: Professorial Lecture Series

Join me in celebrating the very substantive contribution to academe made by Professor Pavel Castka and Professor Tom Cochrane in the next presentation in the Professorial Lecture Series for 2019.

Date:               Thursday 6 June, from 4.30 – 6.00 p.m.
Location:       E14 – Engineering Core

I encourage all staff and postgraduate students to attend this lecture, to actively support our new Professors, and take the opportunity to appreciate the fantastic research being undertaken in parts of the university we may be less familiar with.

Presentation details:

“Universal Language of the Future? Addressing business challenges through international standards” Presented by Professor Pavel Castka, Department of Management, Marketing & Entrepreneurship

How can businesses address social and environmental issues – such as climate change, social responsibility, poverty or child labour – in a vastly diverse world with different opinions on these issues?  Is there a common platform or universal language that can facilitate the interaction between businesses across the world – enabling addressing of these challenges as well as challenges of everyday cooperation of firms in global supply chains?

In this inaugural professorial lecture, I will build on research at UC as well as my involvement with international standard setting NGOs – including International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – and discuss the status quo as well as future challenges of standards setting, adoption and control mechanisms that ensure consistency of international standards across the globe. The lecture is designed for a diverse audience that is interested in social and environmental issues as well as in the generic matters of cooperation in international business – inclusive of non-academic audience such as business leaders or social activists. The lecture provides an insight into the exciting world of international standards, potentially the universal language of the future.

“Food–energy–water nexus in the Mekong” – Presented by Professor Tom Cochrane, Department of Civil & Natural Resources Engineering

The Mekong basin in Southeast Asia is undergoing rapid development.  Basin wide water infrastructure development (hydropower/irrigation), climate change and land-use change are causes for concern due to potential impacts on highly valued fisheries, agriculture, and natural ecosystems. Extensive water, sediment and nutrient modelling and analyses were thus conducted to understand the food-energy-water nexus in the basin and assess future threats and evaluate alternative pathways. Results show that recent development of flood protection dykes, as well as sea level rise and land subsidence pose a major threat to the long term sustainability of the Mekong Delta. Future adaptation and mitigation strategies should include optimal operation of water infrastructure (hydropower, dykes, and irrigation systems) to reduce hydrological and sediment changes, reduction in groundwater pumping, water storage management, sea level rise protection infrastructure, land reclamation, enhancement of coastal and in-stream habitats, and others.  A single solution is not sufficient for this complex basin; multiple mitigation initiatives are necessary through transboundary communication and coordination. The analysis and methods, as well as the lessons learnt in this research can be translated to other river systems around the world undergoing rapid development and climatic threats.

Professor Ian Wright
Deputy Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Tuarua

UC shines in PBRF results

This week’s 2018 Performance-based Research Fund (PBRF) results reinforced UC’s position as a strong, research-led institution which, in the years following the Waitaha Canterbury earthquakes, has remained focused on core disciplines while nurturing research capabilities.

The University ranked in the top three in over half of the subject areas assessed, receiving an overall AQS(S) ranking of third in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

UC ranked first in four subject areas*.

  • Ecology, evolution and behaviour
  • Marketing and tourism
  • Political science, international relations and public policy
  • Public health

*UC ranked first in three subject areas in 2012

UC ranked second in five subject areas:

  • Agriculture and other applied biological sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Engineering and technology
  • Foreign languages and linguistics
  • Music, literary arts and other arts

UC ranked third in six subject areas:

  • Law
  • Economics
  • Management, human resources, industrial relations and other businesses
  • Physics
  • Statistics
  • Visual arts and crafts

Congratulations to all Colleges, Schools and Departments recognised in this year’s results.

For more on the 2018 PBRF results, click here>

Electric scooters: Scourge or delight?

Electric Scooter
Electric Scooter

Electric scooters have become a hot topic in Aotearoa New Zealand cities over the last few months. Whether you’ve used a scooter or not, UC researchers urge you to complete their Electric Scooters in NZ Cities survey.

Dr Helen Fitt from UC’s Department of Geography | Te Tari Mātai Matawhenua says “we are trying to get a broad range of perspectives on scooter use as part of a wider project on the impacts of emerging transport technologies. Compared to more established modes of transport, there has been little systematic research exploring scooter use. This makes it difficult to assess the potential social, health, and environmental impacts of scooter use.  Without this data, it will be challenging to establish evidence-based views and policy.”

Anonymous survey data will later be made publicly available helping to fill the data gaps that currently exist.

The researchers add “we really want to hear from you regardless of whether you think scooters are an urban scourge, an absolute delight, or something in between. Please feel free to share the survey link widely. We would love to hear from people all over Aotearoa New Zealand and with all sorts of different views”.

Survey link: tinyurl.com/yy2eeldw