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In addition to to a wide range of study options in various departments, environmental related research is currently being undertaken in Research Themes and Research Centres.


Agriculture at Otago is advancing profitability and environmental sustainability of primary industry in New Zealand. Their focus is to apply research capabilities to improve risk mitigation, economic, environmental, and social performance of the primary sector.

Find out more about Ag@Otago

Centre for Sustainability (CSAFE): Agriculture, Food, Energy, Environment

The Centre for Sustainability is an interdisciplinary research centre working on local and global sustainability challenges.Their research covers the interrelated streams of Food & Agriculture, Environment and People, and Energy.

Find out more about Centre for Sustainability

Integrated Catchment Management

A multi-disciplinary approach for sharing natural resources that considers environmental, social and economic outcomes. Catchments Otago recognises that effective water management cannot be achieved in isolation from equitable and appropriate land management. Comprising researchers from diverse disciplines, this University of Otago Research Theme explores management strategies considering environmental, social and economic aspects.

Find out more about Integrated Catchment Management

New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities

The New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities (CSC) has been set up to further develop collaborative research that contributes to the sustainable development of our cities. Over 87 per cent of our population live in urban environments, so we face a challenge to keep our cities sustainable and competitively attractive in international terms, and the people within them healthy and socially connected.

The centre aims to work in partnerships to develop the tools to promote well-being and health through smarter economic development, safer and more sustainable housing, transport and energy systems, and enhanced urban design. The centre is also seeking ways to support workforce development and increase the skills of those working on urban sustainability.

Find out more about NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities

New Zealand Ocean Acidification Research Cluster

In 2006, scientists began to assess the chemical and biological effects of Ocean Acidification in the New Zealand context. We soon realised that seawater carbonate chemists and marine biologists needed to work together if we are to fully understand how OA might impact our coastal and open oceans. Originally, we were a group of scientists from the University of Otago (Departments of Botany, Chemistry and Marine Science) and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA); today, we collaborate with researchers across New Zealand and overseas.

Find out more about NZ Ocean Acidification

Otago Energy Research Centre

The OERC creates opportunities for high-impact and internationally recognised energy-related research via an interdisciplinary network of University of Otago researchers and their external collaborators.

This includes:

  • The Incubation of new energy-related interdisciplinary research projects
  • Driving research on energy transitions toward a more resilient and low carbon future, both within New Zealand and globally
  • The Creation of the 'UoO Energy Living Lab' to promote novel sustainable energy practices within the University and provide a testing ground for research
  • Providing a channel for energy-related external engagement at international, national and regional levels.

The OERC has grown to become one of the largest and most diverse, energy-research groupings in New Zealand, encompassing over 30 staff and over 40 postgraduate students from 20 departments drawn from all four Divisions of Otago University

Find out more about Otago Energy Research Centre

Polar Environments

The Polar Environment Research Theme is a multidisciplinary network of University of Otago scientists with an interest in polar regions.

Due to its ideal location, the university has developed a particularly strong connection with Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and the theme members are actively involved in Antarctica New Zealand and the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute.

Find out more about the Polar Environments Research Theme

Research Centre for Oceanography

The Research Centre explores a range of research areas around the central broad theme of physical and chemical oceanography. Interdisciplinary research groups explore paleoclimate, the impacts of ocean acidification, how iron affects the biogeochemistry of the oceans and how trace elements released from deep ocean hydrothermal vents impact on productivity.

Find out more about the Research Centre for Oceanography

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