Tag Archives: Academic Staff

Food for Thought | December 2019

Food for Thought was a series of lunchtime events in the city in which UC academics delivered 15-minute talks covering a range of topics from biology in space to the importance of volunteering in schools.

The events have been a fun way to engage with people in the city and share the exciting research taking place at UC that’s making an impact across Ōtautahi Christchurch and beyond.

There will be a video released shortly capturing the highlights from the events. Thank you to those who took part, and to those who made it along to the events to enjoy some inspiring talks (and delicious food) on your lunch break!

Day three saw Associate Professor Billy O’Steen speak about why volunteering in schools is especially important for Aotearoa New Zealand.
Professor Richard Jones spoke about a forensic brainwave analysis project going on at UC.

Sarah Kessans spoke about biology in space and ways that exploring life in space brings benefit to life on Earth.

A great example of working together as one – Kotahitanga – to pull off a successful series of events showcasing exciting projects and research taking place at UC.

Leverage our membership of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)

Membership Benefits

The University of Canterbury is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). Our membership provides access to a number of exciting, interesting and challenging opportunities such as conference grants for early career academic staff, academic fellowships, and grants to support initiatives that will boost gender equity and equality.

There are opportunities to “Get Involved” – collaborations across the Commonwealth e.g. “Global challenges”, “Access and inclusion”.

There’s also a range of opportunities for our students including scholarships, summer school grants, and fellowships.

Current opportunity promoted on the ACU site

“A Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship is a unique opportunity to study for a two-year Master’s at an ACU member institution across the Commonwealth.

Through cultural exchange and academic collaboration, Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholars help bring about positive change and find solutions to the shared challenges we face – both in their home countries and those that host them. Applications are open until 15 January 2020.   Find out more on our website

Newsletter “acu syntHEsis”.

I will endeavour to publicise opportunities as they arise but the best way for you to be sure of current rounds in a timely way would be to subscribe to their newsletter.

The newsletter is monthly. The current issue is available via the ACU Synthesis link. To subscribe and keep in touch with news and opportunities, email membership@acu.ac.uk.

About ACU

  • The Association of Commonwealth Universities is an international organisation dedicated to building a better world through higher education.
  • International collaboration is central to this ambition: by bringing universities together from around the world – and crucially the people who study and work within them – the ACU helps to advance knowledge, promote understanding, broaden minds, and improve lives.
  • The ACU champions higher education as a cornerstone of stronger societies, supporting its members, partners, and stakeholders as they adapt to a changing world.” (ACU homepage).

Liaison and our information page

  • See our intranet page to access the ACU site
  • I am the liaison person for ACU so talk to me if you want more information.

Karen Mather, Organisational Development Manager, Human Resources.

Join UC’s 2019 Movember Team

It’s that time of year again where men around the country sharpen their razors and their loved ones roll their eyes a little, all in the name of raising funds and awareness of men’s health issues in Aotearoa. This year we’ve put together a team for any staff or students who want to take part in a collaborative effort.

It’s often much easier to raise funds as part of a collective and tends to be a lot more fun when you don’t feel alone as the filthy thing on your upper lip is stared at by worried onlookers.

To join the UC MoBros you will need a Movember account and then you can join the team at this link: https://moteam.co/uc-mobros?mc=1 

We’ve set the target at $2000. Based on last year’s numbers, that’d put us in the top 3 teams in New Zealand. That’s easily achievable with enough support.

Remember, you must be clean shaven on Nov 1st – after that, it’s just picking a style and getting supporters to fund you.

Best of luck!

Workshop – Success for Māori in tertiary education

Ako Aotearoa have organised a Christchurch based workshop:
Kia eke ki te taumata – Success for Māori in Tertiary Education

This akomanga workshop is designed for all educators (Māori and non- Māori) who work with Māori learners.

Through reflection, discussion and practical activities, participants will make connections to their own teaching context and explore some of the key findings from studies that investigated:

  • enhancing success rates for Māori learners
  • teaching with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • understanding Māori learners
  • implementing Kaupapa Māori.

The workshop facilitator will tailor the akomanga to ensure that it meets the needs of participants.


You’ll find more learning at Learning and Development.

Celebrating Fresh Thinking – Professorial Lecture Series

Join me in celebrating the very substantive contribution to academe made by Professor Mathieu Sellier and Professor Greg O’Beirne in the next presentation in the Professorial Lecture Series for 2019.

Date :    Thursday, 5 September, from 4.30 – 6.30pm

Venue: 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.

‘Moving the boundaries of fluid mechanics’  – Presented by Professor Mathieu Sellier

Abstract: Many flows encountered in our daily lives involve a moving boundary. The shape of a raindrop, for example, evolves as it falls through the air. Likewise, the free surface of a river deforms as it encounters obstacles. While the mathematical ingredients required to describe such flows have been known since the late 19th century and are encapsulated in the infamous Navier-Stokes equations, solving complex flows with a moving boundary or interface still poses significant challenges and provides stimulating cross-disciplinary research opportunities. The question at the centre of the research I will present is “if information about the evolution of a moving interface is available, can we indirectly infer unknown properties of the flow?” Such a question falls in the realm of inverse problems for which one knows the effect but is looking for the cause. Specifically, I will talk about how it is possible to estimate the fluid properties of lava just by looking at how it flows or what is the best way to rotate a pan to cook the perfect crêpe.

‘Speech, noise, and the Matrix’ – Presented by Professor Greg A. O’Beirne

People with hearing impairment or auditory processing problems find it harder than most to understand speech in background noise, or when parts of the speech signal are missing or distorted. Despite this, most hearing tests still present either pure tones or single words in quiet, and usually use expensive equipment to do it. 

To overcome these shortcomings and better assess the ability to communicate in challenging acoustic environments, my lab has produced a number of innovative adaptive tests of speech intelligibility and auditory processing. These include i) the UCAST-FW – a filtered word test for the diagnosis of auditory processing disorder; ii) internet-based Digit Triplet Tests to screen for sensorineural hearing loss in New Zealand English, Te Reo Māori, and Malay; and iii) the University of Canterbury Auditory-Visual Matrix Sentence Test – a speech-in-noise test in New Zealand English and Malay that allows rapid testing of adults and school-age children, including their ability to use visual cues to supplement the auditory signal.

I’ll discuss how permanent hearing impairment reduces speech clarity even when sounds are audible, and how the testing platform we’ve developed provides an integrated set of tools for improving hearing screening and speech testing in New Zealand, Australia, and south-east Asia.