Page 23 - UCT Research Report 2011

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UCT continues to monitor these trends for institutional
planning purposes. The Emerging Researcher
Programme (see page 170) is an example of the
university’s strategic intervention to complement the
gaps in current NRF funding.
UCT receives funding from the Medical Research
Council in the form of research grants (such as career
awards, training fellowships, and development awards),
self-initiated research grants (for individual projects),
and research unit funding, as well as for student
scholarships and bursaries as described on page
22. In 2011, 27 new awards were made, valued at
UCT professor wins
L’Oréal-UNESCO Award
Life Sciences
Plant physiologist, Professor Jill Farrant, holder of
a Harry Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Fellowship
Award as well as the South African Distinguished
Women in Science Award, has added another
feather to her cap: the 2012 L’Oréal-UNESCO Award
in Life Sciences (Africa and Arab States), which was
awarded in late 2011.
L’Oréal, a producer of beauty products, sponsors the
US$100,000 award singling out women whose research
can have a major impact on society.
An international network of nearly 1 000 scientists
nominates the candidates that form part of the
L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Programme.
The five laureates, representing five world regions,
are then selected by an independent, international
jury presided over by medicine Nobel Prize laureate
Professor Günter Blobel.
Professor Farrant, who holds a UCT research chair in
the molecular physiology of plants, is renowned for her
multi-angled work on desiccation-tolerant plants, which
are able to withstand prolonged drought or water loss
but will spring to life once water arrives.
The potential outcome of her work, the production
of drought-tolerant crops, with the aim of addressing
food security needs in Africa, will become ever more
important as climate change and the resulting increasing
droughts impact on agriculture.
Funding through research
The number of research contracts approved in 2011
increased by 29 percent over the previous year, and was
valued at R722 million. These contracts vary from short-
term contracts of under R10,000 to multi-year contracts
with multi-million-rand budgets involving both local and
foreign funders.
There was a dramatic increase in the value of contracts
with South African government departments, public
enterprises, and statutory bodies (R133 million from
R51 million in 2010). Similarly, the value of contracts entered