National and international drivers emphasise, now more than ever, the importance of the role of higher education in research and innovation. The Sustainable Development Goals envisioned for 2030 have education as a stand-alone goal, with higher education as a priority. South Africa’s National Development Plan: Vision 2030 specifically refers to the importance of education, innovation and training in positioning South Africa in today’s world – and in building an economy with infrastructure for job creation.
The UWC is strongly driven by partnerships development and enrichment through other national and international institutions. This key factor within the UWC is evidential in its campus wide postgraduate relations with the various faculties, schools and departments that contribute towards the success of the ‘one stop’ virtual reality postgraduate platform character aim, to present the postgraduate programme offerings, research and funding opportunities for postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows, as well as capacity building and professional development opportunities in one central place. Collectively these international and campus wide partnerships build on the vision of the UWC.
Research Topics and Strategies
UWC became the first historically disadvantaged institution to host a Department of Science and Technology (DST) / National Research Foundation (NRF) Centre of Excellence and a DST/NRF Flagship Project. UWC is now one of South Africa’s leading research-intensive universities. Some important research milestones reached over the last five years include: an increase in the number of researchers rated by the National Research Foundation (NRF), from 65 in 2010 to 124 in 2015; an increase in the number of SARChI research chairs, from three in 2010 to 17 in 2018; an increase in the proportion of permanent academic staff with PhDs to currently the highest in South Africa’s 26 public universities; 1 048 total weighted research outputs achieved in 2014, an increase of 157% on the 667 achieved in 2010; and ongoing growth in postgraduate enrolment, especially at Master’s and doctoral level.
UWC has long had an interest in innovation and has established itself as a pioneer and leader in biotechnology, bioinformatics and the hydrogen economy. More formal entry into the innovation space has followed the fundamental research and developments in science. UWC created an institutional infrastructure to nurture and support a culture of social and scientific innovation across the following seven faculties: i) Faculty of Natural Sciences https://www.uwc.ac.za/Faculties/NS/Pages/Home.aspx; ii) Faculty of Community and Health Sciences https://www.uwc.ac.za/Faculties/CHS/Pages/Home.aspx; iii) Faculty of Arts https://www.uwc.ac.za/Faculties/ART/Pages/Home.aspx; iv) Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences https://www.uwc.ac.za/Faculties/EMS/Pages/Home.aspx ; v) Faculty of Education https://www.uwc.ac.za/Faculties/EDU/Pages/Home.aspx; vi) Faculty of Law https://www.uwc.ac.za/Faculties/LAW/Pages/Home.aspx; and vii) Faculty of Dentistry https://www.uwc.ac.za/Faculties/DNT/Pages/Home.aspx.
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