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Research and teaching

Research and teaching
Akoako me te Rakahau

Research is the foundation of the University’s international reputation and the heart of all academic activity.

Otago is a research leader, with a strong research culture fostered across all disciplines and all departments. This is reflected in the most recent PBRF (Performance-Based Research Fund) quality assessment which revealed a 30 per cent increase in the number of A-rated staff at the University, as well as strong increases across other research grades.

The University has leadership and partnerships roles in significant national Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs), and is actively involved in all of New Zealand’s National Science Challenges which aim to address the biggest science-based issues facing this country. Otago also leads the Genomics Aotearoa Platform, hosts two of the world’s most highly-regarded health and development longitudinal studies, and has established a framework of flagship research centres, research themes and research units in areas of particular research strength.

Research excellence

Research excellence is also reflected in Otago’s ongoing success in highly competitive funding rounds from major external funders including the Marsden Fund, the Health Research Council and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The University’s own Centre for Innovation provides an incubator facility, bringing research and industry together on campus. Otago Innovation Ltd manages the commercialisation of intellectual property arising from research. Competitions are held each year to encourage researchers to consider the commercial applications of their work: the Otago Innovation Proof of Concept Grant and the Health Sciences Translational Research Grant.  

Research excellence is acknowledged each year with the University’s Distinguished Research Medal, the Research Group Award and a number of awards for early-career researchers.

Quality teaching

To parallel the strength of its research activities, Otago places great emphasis on the quality of teaching. Around 200 undergraduate and postgraduate degree, diploma and certificate courses are offered across the four academic divisions, as well as a Distance Learning programme and a popular Summer School.

The University presents a suite of annual teaching excellence awards and staff have had exceptional success in New Zealand’s National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards, winning six Supreme Awards in the last eight years, a record unmatched by any other university. Otago also performs strongly in the Tertiary Education Commission’s annual educational performance indicators, topping the country for student performance and retention.

Further information