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Tēnā koutou, and welcome to the OPSITARA 2021 Research Symposium Proceedings.

Broadly speaking, a key purpose of OPSITARA research symposia is to foster and nurture emergent research and researchers across Otago Polytechnic, Southern Institute of Technology, and Ara Institute of Canterbury. Hence the ‘OPSITARA’ moniker. These three organisations represent the ‘southern hub’ of the Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology subsidiary network. The OPSITARA 2021 Research Symposium is a ‘first’ for two important reasons: it is the first time that Ara Institute of Canterbury has hosted this symposium; and, it is the first time an OPSITARA research symposium has been held exclusively online. This was due to the impact of COVID-19 related travel and assembly restrictions.

This 2021 symposium was held on 14–15 October 2021, with the keynote address being delivered by Professor Federico Freschi from Otago Polytechnic (‘Creative Research: What is it and why do we need it?’). The research symposium comprised six sessions over these two days. Within these six sessions were 20 streams, in which a total of 69 papers were presented. Of these presentations, a total of 44 were 15-minute ‘full presentations’, while the remaining 25 were 5-minute ‘research bite’ presentations. All papers submitted to the OPSITARA 2021 Research Symposium have been subject to peer review.

An outcome of this OPSITARA 2021 Research Symposium tripartite collaboration will be to grow research engagement, impact, opportunities, and synergies across and beyond this organisational network. In so doing, we also signal the research capability and potential of the Te Pūkenga network more broadly to conduct research with a focus on applied and technological research. It is my firm belief that this strong ‘southern hub’ contribution will continue to grow and strengthen the quality, relevance, and impact of research within the Te Pūkenga network over the coming formative years. I look forward to what the 2022 OPSITARA Research Symposium will reveal next year!

Ngā mihi nui
Dr Michael Shone
Convenor – OPSITARA 2021 Research Symposium
Ara Institute of Canterbury