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Unitec-Te Pūkenga announces two new Research Centres

Building on its already strong research capacity, Unitec-Te Pūkenga has established two more Research Centres

22 July 2022
• Centre for Research in Education for Healthcare Professionals, led by Associate Professor Samantha Heath;
• Digital Heritage Research Centre, led by Associate Professor Renata Jadresin-Milic.
“These new centres add to four other Research Centres and position Unitec as the leading provider of applied research in Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Martin Carroll, DCE Academic. 
“All of these centres provide opportunities for academics at Unitec, and our valued partners, to contribute to meaningful research aimed at addressing important challenges and making a real impact in the world.” 
The Centre for Research in Education for Healthcare Professionals aligns well with Unitec’s role in supporting the ongoing growth, development and advancement of Aotearoa’s professional health workforce, says Assoc. Prof Samantha Heath.
“The healthcare workforce has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of every New Zealander at all ages and stages of their life. As such, the knowledge, skills and attitudes developed by the early career practitioner need to be shaped in such a way as to meet the contemporary health needs of society. 
“The vision for our Centre is one of collaboration on projects that will provide healthcare professional educators with a range of evidence-based tools to support an education response to mitigating inequalities in health now and in the future. 
“We are keen to partner with public and private health care providers; charities; non-Government Organisations; and experts from across a range of healthcare disciplines, and in other fields to address the real-world problems of healthcare education, and its relevance to improving health inequalities and outcomes of New Zealanders.”
Assoc. Prof Renata Jadresin-Milic said the Digital Heritage Research Centre is well-placed to help preserve treasured heritage in sustainable ways.
“It will enable us to continue learning from this incredible resource. Our work is gathering national momentum and is in an area of high value to New Zealand architecture and heritage.
“We plan to initiate the greater use of modern digital technologies in domestic conservation practice – preventive protection of architectural heritage through the procedures of its digitalisation and documentation. 
“It is also important for the Centre to operate in a transdisciplinary manner and we will be greatly assisted in this by working closely with Unitec’s Environmental Solutions Research Centre (ESRC), and Ngā Wai a Te Tūī, Māori and Indigenous Research Centre.”
Unitec’s centres practise applied research, often in partnership with industry and communities, and give academic staff and students the opportunity to be creative and innovative.
“Meeting the performance standard for a research centre at Unitec requires a high level of consistent excellence in a specific, highly relevant area of research and enterprise, a cohesive academic team within and outside the institute and most of all, strong, enduring industry/community partnerships,” says Marcus Williams, Director Research and Enterprise.
“The forward-thinking aspects in an industry or sphere of community concern is the value-add that academia can bring, but it must be highly relevant to the external partners. This requires listening, ongoing engagement and stakeholder responsiveness in order to avoid the classic mistake of producing elegant solutions that no one needs. 
“I salute these two Associate Professors for their vision, leadership, commitment and partnering capabilities and I believe that this type of applied, highly engaged research that our sector excels in fills a much-needed gap for Aotearoa/New Zealand.”