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The Division's mission and core values

Strategic Plan

The mission, values and goals of the Strategic Plan are outlined below. To request a full copy of the Division's Strategic Plan, please email us The Division is currently developing an updated Strategic Plan which is aligned with the University of Otago's Strategic Directions 2020.


The Division of Sciences will consolidate and strengthen its high international profile to become a top tier research force. Dynamic, interdisciplinary linkages will lead to the development of a broader base of research excellence, with vibrant research programmes utilising state-of-the-art equipment.

A mix of fundamental and applied research will demonstrate that the discovery of science and its responsible application are valued equally, the latter leading to strong relationships with industry, a high diversity of external associations and networks, the scientific underpinning of New Zealand's science-based economies, and an attendant contribution to the health and wealth of the nation.

The Division of Sciences will be recognised as a leading provider of undergraduate and postgraduate science education and training in Australasia with a range of pure, applied and unique professional programmes attracting committed, enthusiastic and talented students. Staff will inspire, nurture and mentor the next generation of scientists and industry leaders and shape the scientific evolution of society.

The Division is also resolved to increase scientific literacy more widely in the community, by continuing to lead in the articulation of the excitement and fun of scientific discovery and the enunciation of scientific ethics and social responsibilities, and to be a critical voice on science matters that is valued by the public and the Government.

We acknowledge our obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi, especially those articulated in the University's Memorandum of Understanding with Ngāi Tahu. We will continue to develop meaningful relationships with tangata whenua, confident that these relationships will enhance our research as well as broadening our perspectives on oversight and strategic networking.

With its flat organizational structure the Division will continue to function as a collegial, cooperative, and mutually supportive work and study environment to foster a strong science identity in its staff and students to encourage them to reach their full potential and to engage in lifelong learning.


The Division:

  • has a passion for excellence and aspires to be the best
  • seeks to produce research of significance and distinction
  • achieves the highest standards in scientific and professional practice
  • demands honesty, integrity and superior ethical principles from its staff and students in their scientific and professional conduct
  • expects outstanding performance in the teaching and mentoring of students
  • is committed to research-led teaching
  • respects critical analysis and perceptive debate across all spheres, and defends the freedom to challenge and to question
  • is a collegial, supportive and encouraging workplace for all staff and students, which fosters enjoyment and institutional pride


The goals identified in the Strategic Plan are:

  • To conduct world-class fundamental and applied research that achieves international recognition and enhances Otago's reputation as a pre-eminent science research centre
  • To advance scientific and technological literacy through leadership in research-informed teaching and learning
  • To foster a working environment that encourages and rewards staff and students, and helps them reach their full potential
  • To promote scientific understanding for the benefit of society, by committing to meaningful engagement with the community, potential users and investors of science, and with government.

Te Timatanga

The purpose of this document – Te Timatanga - is to establish goals and objectives for Maori support and development within the Division of Sciences. Te Timatanga has been developed in consultation with key stakeholders and as it is a living document it will continue to develop. Te Timatanga can be seen as the Division's practical outworking of the University's Strategic Maori Framework and other policy documents. It is a bilingual document; if you would like a copy, please email the Division:

Te Timatanga will:

  • develop an environment where Te Reo and tikanga are recognised and accepted
  • develop research that is of relevance to Maori, as well as research that is carried out in a way that is sensitive to Tikanga
  • develop teaching that incorporates Te Ao Maori, and deliver teaching in a way that is appropriate to Maori students and their needs
  • focus and improve recruitment, retention and support of Maori students
  • focus and improve recruitment, retention and support of Maori staff
  • establish oversight which will link the Division of Sciences with Ngäi Tahu and other stakeholders, as well as providing direction and accountability.