Celebrating our exceptional doctoral theses

Each year, five students are awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis for their exceptional academic achievement and research excellence. 17 of the 462 doctoral degrees completed in 2019 were nominated for this prestigious prize.

The awarded theses came from a variety of faculties and reflected the broad range of topics that our researchers apply themselves to.

From the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries, Dr. Tru Paraha’s Dance Studies thesis probed the dark, occult movements of choreography provoking an engagement with concept horror and speculative philosophy. Her project applied artistic research methodology generated through transcultural poetics, performance writing methods, and a trilogy of experimental dance productions. Tru has also been awarded an emerging writer’s residency (2020) from the Michael King Writers Centre.

Dr. Andrew Chen presenting his research

Dr. Andrew Chen presenting his research at Exposure 2018

Dr. Andrew Chen’s thesis in Engineering focused on the development of a person-tracking video analytics system, taking into account that the majority of the existing research has focused on accuracy while ignoring other practical requirements such as computation time and protecting privacy.

Dr. Hester (Elza) Cloete, from the Liggins Institute aimed to develop an understanding of the burden and characteristics of critical congenital heart disease (CHD) in New Zealand and to establish whether it is feasible for New Zealand to introduce nationwide pulse oximetry screening for the detection of these anomalies in newborns. Her research has also been discussed in this recent Herald article.

Two theses came from different departments within the Faculty of Science: Dr. Michael Hoggard’s thesis investigated the inflammatory and microbial disease chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), to differentiate potential subtypes of CRS and to examine the mechanisms of disease. Dr. Emily Cross’s research examines when and why men who endorse hostile sexism are aggressive towards their partners and also investigates the broader costs men’s hostile sexism has for female partners. Emily’s research was also mentioned in a Stuff Article.

Learn more about these award-winning research projects by reading the theses in ResearchSpace, the University of Auckland research repository (listed alphabetically):

Compiled by the Research Services team