Tuesday 23 April 2013 11:56am
The University of Otago, Christchurch (UOC) has more than twice the number of elite or ‘A’ class researchers on staff than it did when last reviewed for the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) quality evaluation, despite researchers facing myriad hurdles due to earthquakes.
The PBRF assessment examines the quality of research performance by all eligible academic and research staff in New Zealand universities and other tertiary organisations.
In 2006, when the last PBRF assessment was done, the UOC had 12 A-rated researchers. In the 2012 PBRF results, Christchurch had 29 researchers classed as A level.
In 2006 the UOC was ranked as the top medical school in the country in terms of research output. The latest PBRF results confirms this position among medical schools in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.
UOC Dean Professor Peter Joyce says he is extremely proud of both staff who achieved A ratings and all research staff. “The vast majority of our laboratories are located in the main building, which was closed for earthquake repair for just short of two years. Researchers had to find alternative places to work, many sharing laboratories at Lincoln and Canterbury Universities as well as private company Canterbury Scientific Ltd. While the generosity of these groups was greatly appreciated, laboratory spaces staff inhabited for significant periods of time was often cramped and sometimes missing key pieces of equipment. The process of establishing temporary laboratories could also take researchers up to a month to achieve.’’
“Clinical and public health researchers have also faced many challenges. Departments such as Public Health, General Practise and Nursing have had to make major moves. Recruitment to most clinical studies has been adversely affected. Clinical departments such as Surgery and Orthopaedics have moved within the hospital to less satisfactory space. Disruptions are not over yet, with Psychological Medicine still awaiting details on a move.’’
“The impact of displacement on researchers has been varied but many staff maintained levels of world-class research. Achieving this success must be viewed as outstanding under the trying conditions.’’
University of Otago Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie says the results are testament to the resilience of the staff and the world-class research they undertake at Otago’s Christchurch campus. “Not only is this result proof of faith in the research strength here, but it also bodes well for the future.”
The University of Otago established a medical school in Christchurch in 1973 with 43 fourth year students. In 2013, Christchurch is a full health sciences campus with 90 fourth year medical students and more than 1000 postgraduate students. The UOC is also home to scores of researchers involved in many world-class research projects.
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University of Otago, Christchurch
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