Tag Archives: Professorial Lecture Series

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

CELEBRATE FRESH THINKING: PROFESSORIAL LECTURE SERIES

Join us in celebrating the very substantive contribution to academia made by Professor Annie Potts and Professor Michael Plank in the next presentation of our Professorial Lecture Series for 2019.

  • Date: Thursday 2 May, from 4.30 – 6.00 p.m.
  • Location: E14 – Engineering Core

All staff and postgraduate students are encouraged to attend the lecture series to actively support our new Professors, and take the opportunity to appreciate the fantastic research being undertaken in parts of the University you may be less familiar with.

You’ll find further information on each presentation, below.

Ngā mihi

Professor Ian Wright
Deputy Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Tuarua

 

Presentation details:

Kapa Kaiota: The Intersectional Politics of Veganism
Presented by Professor Annie Potts 
Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies

For students and researchers of human-animal relationships, the words ‘vegan’ and ‘veganism’ have begun to function not only as the descriptors of a practice – a way of living and being in the world – but also as critical terms.

In this regard we can say that ‘vegan’ and ‘veganism’ refer to a particular kind of conceptual approach, one characterised by an ethical and political commitment to the identification, analysis and rejection – as far as possible – of the ideologies that justify and enable the exploitation of nonhuman animals.

In addition veganism, both as a practice and a critical method, increasingly tends to combine with ‘intersectional’ forms of thinking, which aim to recognize the ways in which human-animal relations are intricately linked with the politics of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, class, and physical ability and disability. 

This presentation will introduce key theories of veganism, placing particular emphasis on new critical thinking emerging from Intersectional Vegan Studies.

Special attention will also be paid to representations of meat and its consumption (as well as meat and dairy refusal and veganism) – phenomena that should be central to any thoroughgoing understanding of food futures, both in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world.

 

Size-based models of marine ecosystems and the effects of fishing
Presented by Professor Michael Plank
School of Mathematics & Statistics

Many species of fish begin life as tiny larvae and grow to be several million times larger as adults. Over the course of its lifetime, a fish’s predators and prey change drastically as it grows bigger. This means that body size is a crucial variable in any population.

Size-spectrum models are a type of mathematical model that calculate changes in body size as a results of biomass being transferred from prey to predator, and from parent to offspring. This is a different paradigm from a classical species-based predator-prey model.

In this talk, I will give an overview of how size-spectrum models work and the insights they have given into marine ecosystem dynamics. I will show how these models can be used to investigate the ecosystem-level effects of different approaches of fishing, such as different size-based fishing regulations. This includes short-term considerations such as sustainable yield and effects on ecosystem structure, as well as longer-term change such as fisheries-induced evolution.

Celebrate Fresh Thinking: Professorial Lecture Series

Join us in celebrating the very substantive contribution to academia made by Professor Richard Green and Professor Adrian McDonald in the first Professorial Lecture Series for 2019.

  • Date: Thursday 4 April, from 4.30 – 6.00 p.m.
  • Location: E14 – Engineering Core

All staff and postgraduate students are encouraged to attend the lecture series to actively support our new Professors, and take the opportunity to appreciate the fantastic research being undertaken in parts of the University you may be less familiar with.

You’ll find further information on each presentation, below.

Ngā mihi

Professor Ian Wright
Deputy Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Tuarua

 

Presentation details:

Deep learning is Revolutionising Smart Robots, Drones and Vehicles
Presented by Professor Richard Green, Department of Computer Science & Software Engineering.

Over only the last few years, deep learning has significantly improved computer vision and machine learning to finally enable fully autonomous robots, drones, vehicles and other analysis usually performed manually.

Helping computers to unambiguously see and understand the world is a fascinating and exciting research endeavour, but also seriously challenging when they are still so dumb, and almost blind compared with human cognitive capability.

In this Professorial Lecture I will describe my contributions across these research areas, including recent autonomous systems research into drones pruning forests, robots pruning vineyards, general purpose farm robots, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) inspecting mussel lines, scanning ship hulls and wharf pylons to detect invasive bio-fouling species, mapping the seabed to locate scallops and automatic blood spatter analysis.

UC is now a world leader in this autonomous software research, with a large AI Robotics (UC AIR) research group. But this is multidisciplinary research – which only exists through collaboration with Electrical, Mechanical and Civil Engineering, together with domain experts such as those from marine biology, forestry, ESR and Lincoln University Viticulture.

Labour shortages and quality/accuracy/safety are the biggest drivers for so many of these applications – but based on this accelerated capability, how long will it be until all human manual labour tasks can be automated?

 

Clouds over Antarctica and the Southern Ocean: Their Influence on Aotearoa New Zealand Climate
Presented by Professor Adrian McDonald, Department of Physical & Chemical Sciences.

Clouds have a surprisingly large effect on our climate. In particular, cloud cover reflects sunlight back into space that would otherwise be absorbed by oceans, potentially raising their temperatures.

Despite their significant influence on climate, clouds still represent the largest source of uncertainty in modern climate models.  The frequency of clouds over the Southern Ocean for example is often underestimated, causing models to predict warmer sea surface temperatures than what is observed. 

Models also often misrepresent the composition of clouds because of the importance of small particles, called aerosols, which act as the starting points for cloud droplets and ice to form around. 

These deficiencies in turn leads models to predict the strength and position of the Southern Hemisphere storm tracks incorrectly. These storm tracks impact Aotearoa New Zealand directly via their influence on rainfall, and also bring extreme weather events. It is vital that our models represent clouds well so we can increase certainty in our climate projections for Aotearoa New Zealand.

In this Professorial Lecture, I discuss the use of detailed measurements to compare with simulations of the present-day to critically test the quality of cloud and aerosol simulations.

By analysing these differences and using our understanding of how cloud processes work I show how we can develop improved model simulations.

CELEBRATE FRESH THINKING: PROFESSORIAL LECTURE SERIES

Join me in celebrating the very substantive contribution to academia made by Professor Janet Carter and Professor Pedro Lee as part of the Professorial Lecture Series in 2018.

  • Date: Thursday 15 November, from 4.30 – 6pm
  • Location: E14 – Engineering Core

I encourage all staff and postgraduate students to attend this lecture series to actively support our new Professors, and take the opportunity to appreciate the fantastic research being undertaken in parts of the university you may be less familiar with. You’ll find further information on each presentation, below.

Ngā mihi

Professor Ian Wright
Deputy Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Tuarua

 

Presentation details:

Psychotherapy for depression; what works?
Presented by Professor Janet Carter, Department of Psychology and Dean of Science

Depression is a leading cause of disability and disease burden in society and has a huge impact on the quality of life and functioning of individuals affected. It is well established that psychotherapies are effective in the treatment of depression. Although therapy is effective there is much room for improvement.

Many people with depression only partially respond to treatment and relapse rates for depression are high. Several studies comparing different types of psychotherapy have also shown there are no or only minimal differences in the effectiveness of different therapies.  Currently we know very little about which type of therapy is likely to be the most effective for a particular individual and we have limited understanding about which elements of therapy are fundamental to a response. 

These questions have and continue to be the drivers of my work as an academic clinical psychologist. Understanding how we might better tailor therapy to an individual is a significant challenge, however, it is also one of the major ways we can improve mental health outcomes. 

In this Professorial lecture I will summarise my research findings examining predictors of response to psychotherapy in adults with depression and also highlight some of the common elements of therapy that are thought to contribute to a positive outcome.

 

Can pipelines be used for communication?
Presented by Professor Pedro Lee, Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering

For decades, civil pipeline engineers have been focused on the destructive properties of surge events in their system and have dedicated their efforts into suppressing these pressure waves. In electrical systems, similar destructive surge events occur but electrical engineers have long realised that small, customised surge waves can be used to transmit coded information across large distances. This idea forms the basis for communication through conductors and is central to many technologies we see around us today.

On a fundamental level, pressure surges in water pipes are nearly identical to voltage surges in electrical systems. We can take inspiration from established technologies in the electrical field to evolve our extensive water supply networks so that they are capable of transmitting and receiving information through the water within the pipe. Our essential water infrastructure can be more than just buried tubes for transporting water. 

This presentation will cover the development of this idea and the technical challenges with creating coded, high controlled pressure pulse sequences in pressurised pipelines. The results of an international pilot testing programme of a pipe condition assessment technology will be presented as a case study to demonstrate the real-world potential of this field of research.

Celebrate Fresh Thinking: Professorial Lecture Series

Join me in celebrating the very substantive contribution to academe made by Professor Annick Masselot and Professor Lynne Taylor as part of the Professorial Lecture Series in 2018.

  • Date:               Thursday, 25 October 2018, from 4.30 – 6.00 p.m.
  • Location:        F3 – Forestry

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:

“Raising pigs and children: Comparative approaches to work-life balance policies”
Presented by Professor Annick Masselot, School of Law

Rising female employment rate, fluid family formation and falling fertility rates are amongst factors contributing to work-family conflicts. In the quest for work and family reconciliation, many post-industrial societies continue to face a plethora of challenges linked to the tensions between the demands of capitalist employment and the requirement for care.

Countries have adopted different approaches to develop work-life balance policies.  For example, work-family reconciliation is a fully-fledged principle of the EU gender equality framework. New Zealand’s approach to work-life balance by contrast claims to neither be about women, nor about families. In Singapore, effort related to work-life balance are about raising fertility rates. Regardless of the approach chosen, the results are similar: There are large gaps between the letter of the law and its practice. Pregnant women and new parents (especially mothers) continue to experience high levels of systemic discrimination based on prejudice and the exclusion of reproduction from costs/benefits in traditional accounting.

How can we move forwards? What strategies could be put forward to value productive and reproductive activities more equally in our societies?

 

“The duties of directors of insolvent companies: A case study”
Presented by Professor Lynne Taylor, School of Law

Our law as to bankruptcy is archaic, antiquated, abstruse. I have always shied absolutely clear of it, and I think that most lawyers have, too… You [only] have to look at the statute; and then you do not understand it.” Lord Denning, perhaps the most famous common law judge of the twentieth century, uttered these words in 1985. Yet, despite the antipathy expressed by Lord Denning and others, bankruptcy (or insolvency) law is something that touches us all. Very few of us are likely to avoid being a creditor of an insolvent company. Even if we are so fortunate, we will almost certainly be indirectly and adversely affected by the flow-on effects of company failures, large and small, on the wider community.

Unlike Lord Denning, the presenter has not flinched from exploring the mysteries of insolvency law. Drawing on 20 years of research in this area, she offers her view on the adequacy of New Zealand’s company insolvency framework using the duties of directors of insolvent companies as a case study.

Professor Ian Wright
Deputy Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Tuarua