ENGINEERING AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT >
DEAN'S REPORT

The Faculty continues to work towards strengthening the research and innovation focus. Strategic planning at a high level has focused on internationalisation and looking at ways to strengthen and develop international collaboration, networks and visibility.

A key indicator to benchmark the reputation of our academic staff internationally is the rating system of the NRF and in 2010 the Faculty had 35 NRF-rated staff. Of the academic staff, 63% has PhDs and 32% have a master’s qualification. In addition, 42% are registered with the Emerging Researcher Programme, which aims to develop staff as researchers and increase their measurable research output, in order to eventually obtain NRF rating.

There were 258 research contracts with a total value of R77,97 million and the total research income for the Faculty was R136,7 million. 1 009 postgraduate students registered in the Faculty and 170 master’s students and 22 doctoral students graduated during the year.

In 2010 the Faculty developed key plans to raise its level of research performance. These will be implemented in 2011 and include, amongst others, the appointment of two senior scholars (retirees) to assist in research output and mentoring, and the establishment of a postdoctoral fellowship bridging grant,  and funds from the generation of additional publication subsidy will be used for strategic purposes, to increase research output.

Faculty Highlights

The DST Hydrogen Catalysis Competence Centre at UCT, known as HySA/Catalysis, received its first project funding in 2009, and started work at UCT, Mintek and affiliated institutions. The Centre has already established 18 projects, 12 of which are based at UCT.

The African Centre for Cities (ACC) continued its collaborative work with the Association of African Planning Schools – a network of 39 university-based urban planning schools in 15 countries across Africa – to update curricula and foster a new research ethos that is firmly anchored in the Afropolitan agenda of UCT. The ACC, together with the Energy Research Centre, was awarded the WWF low carbon zone scoping study on the feasibility of developing a low carbon zone in the Western Cape.

A partnership between Sasol and the Centre for Catalysis Research has yielded the invention of the magnetometer, a device which will add great value to research in a variety of fields, including nano-technology. The development of the magnetometer presents a fine example of successful collaboration between industry and academic partners.

The Concrete Materials and Structural Integrity Research Unit, based in the Department of Civil Engineering, was given full accreditation as a university research unit.

The Department of Chemical Engineering acquired two new sophisticated analytical instruments – the QEMSCAN and the High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscope – which will allow researchers and students to enhance significantly their capacity to sustain the world-class research they are carrying out in industries such as mineral processing, chemical and petrochemical processing, bio-sciences, forensic sciences and viticulture.

Professor Ulrike Rivett from the Department of Civil Engineering and Mr Warren Smit from the African Centre for Cities each received an award from the Programme for the Enhancement of Research Capacity as part of the university-wide commitment to initiate and foster programmes that develop researchers.

Professor Alison Lewis received the NRF’s Champion of Transformation Capacity Development at South African Higher Education Institutions award for her outstanding work in actively training, fostering and mentoring a number of black and female students in industrial crystallisation research.

Dr Hans Beushausen from the Department of Civil Engineering and Dr Olabisi Falowo from the Department of Electrical Engineering each received a Claude Leon Foundation Merit award, which is awarded to assist the research work of young lecturers.

Megan Becker (Research Officer) and Angus Morrison (PhD student), both from the Centre for Minerals Research, each received a Young Author award at the XXV International Mineral Processing Congress.

Three postgraduate students received the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship and will be continuing their studies at Cambridge and Oxford.

Rachel Mugai, a doctoral student in the Department of Civil Engineering, received a six-month research grant from the German Academic Exchange Service to continue her PhD studies at the Technische Universität München.

Professor Francis Petersen
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment

 

Back to top