Research-led teaching


Research-led teaching is an integral part of the curriculum, and as such is being considered across all working groups in the Curriculum Framework Transformation Programme.  

The taskforce is exploring ideas that will weave research-led teaching into all stages of the tertiary journey, with a particular focus on the postgraduate experience. This work will feed into the draft curriculum framework currently being worked on by the Curriculum Framework Transformation Programme team. 

Discussions on the definitions of research-led teaching and what this might look like in the future curriculum have been held with the CFT taskforce leads and the wider taskforce. This ongoing work will feed into the draft Curriculum Framework and Learning and Teaching Delivery Framework.

Research-led teaching: This term refers to a range of research related teaching activities, such as: 

  • Research-driven: where students are taught research findings in their field of study 
  • Research-oriented: where students learn research processes and methodologies 
  • Research-tutored: where students learn through critique and wide-ranging discussion between themselves and staff who can draw upon a deep understanding of thinking and knowledge in their field (advanced skill) 
  • Research-based learning:where students learn as researchers and develop research skills on actual projects led by academic staff (advance skill) 

Research-informed teaching: The curriculum reflects latest thinking and knowledge in the field of study and staff can deliver curriculum designed by someone else or they are teaching an applied programme that doesn’t require many of the higher-level capabilities and skills associated with research. 

Emerging ideas

Teaching and learning aren’t just classroom activities, and they’re not just for undergraduate students. The research-led teaching component of the CFT project weaves this thinking through all aspects of their work. 

The standing of the University as a genuine research-led institution including a high calibre of research staff from a diverse range of disciplines has repeatedly been highlighted as a strength and a major drawcard for students internationally and domestically. There is evidence (through rankings performance for example) that this perception is held externally. 

The ideas that are being formulated in this space are also driven by the guiding principles of Taumata Teitei.

In particular, the following research and innovation principles: 

  • World-class research inspired by our place in Aotearoa and the Pacific 
  • A global powerhouse of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship 
  • Relevant, purposeful impactful research for our communities 
  • Ambitious research confronting humanity’s greatest challenges 
  • Nurturing, recruiting, and retaining outstanding research talent 
  • A research ecosystem characterised by collaboration, agility, simplicity, engagement, and empowerment 

While the University’s world-class research resources came through in the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) as a major strength, and drawcard for domestic and international student recruitment, access to these benefits were perceived to be limited at undergraduate level, limited by class size and the high workload associated with supervision. 

The opportunity to open access for undergraduate students to the University’s world-class research resources is a focus for the taskforce. Potential mechanisms identified for achieving this are varied and include, the design of space that enables students to interact with academic staff (using Tai Tonga campus as an exemplar), vertically integrated programmes with research element, pathways for students into LSRIs, increasing the exposure to researchers in undergraduate teaching, making research activity more visible across the university, and increased visibility of the teaching-research nexus in the undergraduate curriculum. 

Next steps

The opportunities highlighted above are being explored within the Curriculum structure (including capstones, transitions, foundational skills and research pathways), Learning and Teaching Delivery and the Transdisciplinarity, Innovation and Entrepreneurhsip working groups.    

The taskforce will come together mid-November to look at what is emerging from these working groups and to ensure that we collectively realise the overall aspirations related to research-informed and research-led teaching through the Curriculum Framework.   

Get in touch

If you would like to share your thoughts on the ideas raised by the Research-led working group, or learn more about the wider programme of work, please email the Curriculum Framework Transformation Programme at