Page 16 - UCT Research Report 2011

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Department of Research and
Innovation at UCT comprises
three separate, but complementary, offices:
the Research Office, Research Contracts
and Intellectual Property Services, and the
Postgraduate Centre and Funding Office.
Each of these offices plays a key role in
measuring, tracking, and enabling UCT’s
research performance, be it through the
awarding of bursaries and scholarships to
postgraduate students and postdoctoral
research fellows or developing capacity
to help UCT’s researchers apply for grants
and funding and NRF rating as well as
assisting them to enter into complex
research contracts.
Research Office
The work of the Research Office is primarily geared towards
enabling optimal research activity and excellence. This
is achieved through a service-oriented approach and the
implementation of internationally benchmarked systems,
structures and procedures. Its wide range of activities include
running research development programmes, accrediting and
evaluating the university’s research groupings, facilitating its
engagement with global rankings, tracking its publication
count, building proposals, forging new and strategic
partnerships, and expanding access to grants.
In pursuit of its first priority to support the development of
scholars, the Research Office runs two key programmes
that form the core of research capacity development at
UCT: the Emerging Researcher Programme (ERP), for new
researchers, and the Programme for the Enhancement of
Research Capacity (PERC), for mid-career researchers.
Both are pioneering programmes. Through their research
development grants, their workshops on a variety of
topics crucial to the development of an academic career
(such as supervision training, producing competitive grant
applications, and writing for publication) and through their
one-on-one advice sessions, the ERP and PERC provide a
nurturing space within which researchers can reach their
full potential.
Participation in the
ERP has continued to
rise steadily since the
programme’s inception
in 2003, and in 2011,
it had 492 registered
PERC, now in its third
year, also continues to
gain ground. In addition
to developing capacity
at UCT, it is playing
a key role in raising
UCT’s global visibility
through one of its sub-projects, the African Research
Project on Knowledge Production. This project encourages
collaborative, cross-disciplinary research that interrogates
and disrupts dominant, Eurocentric knowledge paradigms,
and is mindful of UCT’s location and roots in Africa and
the university’s Afropolitan vision. A Carnegie grant made
possible the awarding of R1,8 million in funding over a
three-year period. Twelve grants of R150,000 each have
been awarded. In addition, two further grants funded by
the Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Fund were awarded in 2011.
The work of PERC and ERP is also complemented by the
Mellon Visiting and Retired Scholars Mentorship Project,
which is aimed at giving further individualised support to
young academics through structured mentoring organised
within selected host departments that apply for such
support through a competitive process.
In addition, the Research Office supports academics
in meeting the needs of the university’s postgraduate
students. It co-ordinates a supervision training programme
that is open to all academic staff, whether they are
supervising postgraduate students for the first time or are
seasoned academics who wish to update and strengthen
their supervision skills.
UCT is not only well-placed, but also committed to playing
a part in ensuring that South Africa and the rest of Africa
can count on a vibrant academic profession in the future.
Creating the Next Generation of Academics, a programme
implemented in 2011, is an initiative aimed at assisting a
select group to attain a PhD and then enter academia.
It is aimed at the revival of the academy in Africa
generally, but also at the strengthening of UCT’s own staff
complement (through a Carnegie grant, in co-operation
with three other African universities: the University of the
Witwatersrand (South Africa), Ghana-Legon (Ghana) and
Department of
Research and Innovation