Page 7 - UCT Research Report 2011

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Message from the
roles of a university are complex.
In addition to providing an
excellent education for our students and
building a highly-skilled workforce that is
mindful of the responsibilities of democratic
citizenship, we need to push the boundaries
of knowledge and challenge the status quo
at every turn. We do so in order to contribute
to the development and transformation of
our society and the betterment of the world
in which we live. I believe that UCT delivers
to these goals at an exceptional level.
We measure the quality and impact of our research in a
variety of ways, but one of the indicators is our strong
performance in the three main global university ranking
systems. Two out of the three of these rely to a significant
extent on different indicators of research impact. In
2010 and 2011, UCT retained its position between 100
and 110, on the
Times Higher Education (THE)
University Rankings, and around 160 in the
Symonds (QS)
World University Rankings for 2011/12.
The THE and QS systems continue to rank UCT as the
only university in Africa in the top 200. UCT was also
the only university in Africa to make the top 300 range
of the
Shanghai Jiao Tong
Academic Ranking of World
Universities (ARWU).
This strong showing is due to both the quality of the
research and the fact that our researchers are open to the
world and co-operate with partners on every continent.
UCT’s membership of the Worldwide Universities Network
is our current general initiative to encourage meaningful
international co-operation – and the indications are that
this is paying off.
The university is deeply conscious of its obligation to
make its resources, including its research resources,
available as widely as possible to the community in which
it lives. To this end, the Knowledge Co-op was launched
last year. This is a shared venture of the deputy vice-
chancellors who are responsible for social responsiveness
and research. It offers community organisations that would
not normally have access to the university’s research
capability the opportunity to bring problems that could be
tackled as part of student projects, typically at honours
or master’s level. Several projects have already been
successfully completed.
The research achieve-
ments at UCT in the past
year are too numerous to
list here. It is, however,
appropriate to mention
just a few important
In regard to the first of
the national priorities
i den t i f i ed i n our
strategic goals, the
Pro Vice-Chancellor
and Di rector of
the African Climate
and Deve l opment
Initiative, Professor
Mark New, took up
his post in July 2011 and made a strong start in fulfilling
the objectives of this key research area (which was
also officially recognised by the University Research
Committee as the sixth Signature Theme).
The second such national priority area, the Safety
and Violence Initiative (SaVI), under the leadership
of Dr Catherine Ward, holds an equally strong
research agenda and hosted its first conference in
September 2011, under the title
Promoting safety,
Reducing violence, Raising awareness
, with experts
from all over the world, including Jamaica, Scotland,
and Switzerland.
Strong efforts were also made to support South Africa’s
bid for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope
(that would prove to be successful at the beginning of
2012), such as targeted financial support to the efforts
of the Department of Astronomy.
Through the Institute of Infectious Disease and
Molecular Medicine, we continue to make significant
strides in addressing the fight against infectious
I wish to pay tribute to our award-winning academics who
were recognised in 2011 for their research achievements,
some of whom are mentioned here:
Professor Jill Farrant was selected as one of five
exceptional women scientists from around the
world to receive the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards in Life
Professors Ed Rybicki and Heather Zar were awarded
A-ratings by the National Research Foundation (NRF),
thereby affirming their status as world leaders in their
respective fields. They were joined by professors
George Ekama and Hans-Peter Kunzi who retained
their A-ratings on re-application.