University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury is highly regarded internationally for its research performance and its research-led learning and teaching. In the health context, the University is ideally placed to play a significant role in the development of the academic health sciences element of the Health Precinct through its strengths in key areas of health research and health professional education.

In its response to the earthquake sequence of 2010-2011 the University has developed its University of Canterbury Futures programme which seeks to contribute to its recovery process through a multi-pronged series of new initiatives in which the Health Precinct initiative plays a key part. The University sees its involvement in the development of the academic health sciences centre as a major strand of its approach to consolidating its already well developed portfolio of health research and teaching. A unique opportunity now exists for the University of Canterbury to join a strong, collaborative partnership with Ara Institute and the University of Otago to work alongside the Canterbury District Health Board and industry to build a world-class academic health science development where internationally significant research, innovation and teaching are delivered within the Health Precinct.

At present, the University offers research-led professional education in Audiology, Clinical Psychology, Medical Physics, Nursing, Social Work and Speech and Language Pathology. Key teaching programmes are also offered in Health Sciences which focus on the Population Health disciplines including Epidemiology, Health Geography, Health Promotion and Education and Māori Health. In addition, other key research areas at the University with strong health components include Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Food Safety, Human Interface Technology and Microbiology. The University of Canterbury is therefore a major hub for teaching, research and innovation in health, yet its profile is less usual in that it is not focused around a medical school.

The University seeks to contribute to the first phase of the academic health sciences centre through teaching, initially at the post-graduate and post-qualification levels, with limited specialised undergraduate professional education provision being considered.  The University of Canterbury also anticipates the location of key research entities which will promote elements of translational research in clinical practice and create new knowledge in fundamental and applied health research, all of which will contribute to economic growth. These programmes will have a seminal role in improving the health and wellbeing of Cantabrians.

Selected programmes and projects will have the potential to gain significant synergies and benefits by co-location in the Health Precinct alongside the largest concentration of health professionals and patients/clients in the South Island. Being positioned within the Health Precinct will also increase capacity in University of Canterbury’s strategic health research through access to a range of urban and rural populations.

In summary, the contribution of the University of Canterbury will initially encompass postgraduate teaching, research, clinical practice, and professional development across a range of disciplines with specialist undergraduate education and training being added as appropriate. The collaborative opportunities for staff and students of the University in the Health Precinct will enable the University of Canterbury to further enhance its vision of being people prepared to make a difference – tangata tū, tangata ora.

The Members