Universities unite to boost study of waterways

Two higher education institutions in Canterbury have signed an agreement to run postgraduate programs as jointly awarded courses – a first in New Zealand.

  • The Waimakariri River, located in Canterbury, is one of the largest braided rivers in New Zealand.

Sustainable Development Goals 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation

Te Whare Wānanga or Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC) Tumu Whakarae | Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey and Te Whare Wānaka o Aoraki | University of Lincoln Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Edwards has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue a long-standing partnership in freshwater science and management.

The agreement builds on the 2009 Joint Waterways Center for Freshwater Management (WCFM) agreement. A teaching and research partnership, previously based at the UC and Lincoln campuses, will now be located in a new combined waterways center on the UC Ilam campus.

Built on the foundation of successful postgraduate programs in water resources management, the Waterways Center will now offer two new programs designed to meet the changing demand for graduates in the water sector. The Master of Water Science and Management and the MSc in Water Science and Management will accept new registrations from 2023.

Professor De la Rey says the new programs will create a new generation of graduates equipped to meet the ever-changing challenges that climate change will increasingly place on our water resources.

“By providing relevant and impactful research and education in an environment where students can make a difference, we hope to improve water management practices and outcomes. »

With water being a significant issue both in New Zealand and around the world, the partnership aims to offer postgraduate programs specifically related to freshwater, while aligning the common strategic goals of both universities.

Professor Edwards says the MoU will build on the strongly interdisciplinary focus of the universities’ existing curricula while broadening scientific and technical training.

“We can also help provide the bicultural competence and confidence to manage water in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas.

“It will help create opportunities for students to learn and contribute to solving global sustainability challenges,” he said.

WCFM Director, Professor James Brasington, says the Center is at the heart of the freshwater sector, providing independent research, higher education and professional development in water science and management.

“It is increasingly clear that we face a future characterized by periods of too little, then too much water, and water that is, all too often, too dirty to be used safely or to sustain healthy ecosystems.

“Learning to assess these risks, to adapt and to find new solutions that guarantee sustainable and equitable access to water for populations and ecosystems is a challenge that could not be more urgent. Our new programs will provide graduates with the professional skills and theoretical understanding needed to drive the transformative change sweeping the freshwater sector.

The Waterways Postgraduate Student Conference is an opportunity for postgraduate students to showcase their freshwater-related research. The 2022 conference will take place on Tuesday 8 November 2022 at Ti Kōuka, Haere-Roa, at the University of Canterbury.

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