Research

Research in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences covers a wide range of exciting topics and is at the forefront of international study. An emphasis on materials science research is a common thread in the following fields:

  • nanomaterials - quantum dots, wool colourants, carbon nanotubes
  • ceramics and glasses for imaging
  • Raman spectroscopy (SERS)
  • solar cells
  • theoretical and computational physics and chemistry
  • soft matter - biomineralisation, 3D patterning
  • heritage materials (conservation science)

Other research topics include:

  • synthesis of bioactive natural products
  • carbohydrates as immunotherapy drugs
  • environmental physics, geophysics and palaeomagnetism
  • astrophysics and astronomy

Read more about our research groups.

Students

We have around 80 PhD students and 20 Master's students in the School. They contribute much to its vibrant atmosphere.

Research funding

Research is funded internally, from external research grants and via a number of postgraduate scholarships. Some scholarships are linked with Crown Research Institutes and in collaboration with industry. The Curtis-Gordon Scholarship fund is available for chemistry PhD, Masters and Honours students.

Staff in the School published 92 papers in peer-refereed journals in 2009.

Collaborations

We work with a number of research centres and institutes. The School hosts the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, New Zealand's only Centre of Research Excellence in the physical sciences. It is named after our School's most famous graduate, the late Professor Alan MacDiarmid, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2000 for his work on conducting polymers.

Research collaborations with Callaghan Innovation, GNS Science and NIWA in the Wellington region, and with the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research situated on the Victoria University campus, add breadth and practical experience to the opportunities available for students.

Staff at the School have ongoing collaborative research programmes with many overseas universities and research institutes. For example, we work with scientists at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and Imperial College London, the Max-Plank Institute in Stuttgart, Germany and Boston and Stanford Universities in the United States.

Strong links with a wide range of industries, such as New Zealand Pharmaceuticals, Toshiba and Magritek facilitate the rapid uptake and development of discoveries from research programmes.