Page 74 - UCT Research Report 2011

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UCT Research Report '11
Collaboration will feature strongly in the unit’s endeavours,
and the first national conference in digital forensics is
planned for 2012.
Another spin-off initiative in the faculty that continues to
thrive is DataFirst. Devoted to survey research in Africa,
it was started by UCT’s Professor Francis Wilson in
2000 as part of another of his creations – the Southern
Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU).
Manager, Lynn Woolfrey – who runs the award-winning
unit with director, Professor Martin Wittenberg – describes
DataFirst as a research policy interface, modelled on the
national survey-data archives established in Europe and
the USA in the 1960s. As with those archives, DataFirst
aims to make essential survey data available to the
country’s research community, rather than just have it
Research groupings
associated with this theme
Research Unit in Behavioural and Neuroeconomics (RUBEN)
RUBEN is an inter-disciplinary group of researchers who use economic experiments, often together with functional
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) imaging techniques, to examine the role that social, cognitive and emotional
factors play in economic decision-making. In particular, the methodological approach in which the members of
the team are experts allows the estimation of risk attitudes and time preferences of individuals, households, and
communities in the field. RUBEN is currently the only centre for experimental research in economics on the
African continent, providing training, research leadership and technical resources for the benefit of researchers
across the continent. A key aspect of RUBEN activity is training. RUBEN hosts annual training workshops for
scholars from the rest of the continent, and raises funds to cover all workshop costs for these participants. In
addition, the unit aims to provide scholarships for four to six postgraduate students annually.
Director: Associate Professor J. Burns E-mail: Website:
Environmental-economics Policy Research Unit
The Environmental-economics Policy Research Unit (EPRU) was established in 2007 and forms part of the
Environment for Development (EfD) initiative. EPRU strives to produce and disseminate policy-relevant research
of a high academic quality on current environmental economic issues in South Africa. The main objective of
the unit is to function as a resource where high-quality information and economic opinion on environmental
issues can be sought. It aims to enhance environmental policy-making in South Africa through rigorous research
and extension in order to attain sustainable development and poverty reduction. The EfD initiative operates in
China, Central America, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania, focusing on environmental economics
research, policy advice and teaching. Funding support is provided by the Swedish International Development
Co-operation Agency.
Director: Dr M. Visser E-mail: Web:
Advancement of Business Competitiveness Unit
The recently established Advancement of Business Competitiveness Unit aims to be the primary
source of knowledge and suppor t for the advancement of competitiveness of organisations in South
Africa and the rest of Africa in both the private and public sectors. This means that while the grouping
will produce and publish peer-reviewed research, the primary agenda of such research output will
be to suppor t the advancement of business competitiveness. The research will focus on under taking
surveys to map the current business practices in the various sectors of the South African economy
with the aim of benchmarking them against best practices. This initiative will be taken to the rest of
Africa. Using cases studies, the grouping will also under take in-depth investigations of the business
practices peculiar to the value chains of the various sectors. Both the surveys and cases studies will
generate insights into the potential weaknesses of the value chains which hinder competitiveness in
both the private and public sectors.
Director: Associate Professor R. Chivaka E-mail: Web: