University of Cape Town

Excellence does not just happen by chance or overnight; it happens through constant resourcing. South Africa’s history has left a bit of an unfavourable legacy of mostly white and male excellence in higher institutions. The picture suggests that excellence is a preserve for certain races and genders, which is not true. We have a legacy of disproportionate resourcing that has to change.

Transformation must happen in a way that sees disadvantaged communities receive the resourcing they need.

The University of Cape Town is one of Africa’s biggest and most progressive research universities. UCT is the 57th most international university in the world. This is according to the annual list published by Times Higher Education (THE).

UCT is also the only university in Africa to make the cut. Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng is focused on the future of research and forming the right partnerships that will usher the university into the era of 5IR.

UCT Vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng In Conversation with AfricaLive>> 

Research & Innovation at The University of Cape Town


Cape Town’s Water: Heading In the Wrong Direction

Capetonians must heed the warning of Day Zero in 2018 if another water crisis is to be averted. Despite warnings by the City of Cape Town to curb water demand and implement water-saving measures, the city’s water supply is moving in the wrong direction.

The City’s water demand in the first week of February hit an average of 1 billion litres per day, and it is anticipated that it will exceed 1.1 billion litres this week after a run of seven consecutive hot days.

If the South Africa Weather Service (SAWS) model is correct, then there is some relief on the way. Slightly above-average rainfall is predicted in the period from March to May. Perhaps there is no need to panic just yet, but in the interim, the warning signs need to be getting louder. Avoid uncertainty and rather take action.


IDM Extension Project Boosts Continent’s Biomedical Research Capacity

In October 2022, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine (IDM) officially opened the IDM North and South Pavilion extensions to the existing Wernher & Beit North (WBN) Building.

These two modern pavilions are home to several new state-of-the-art core facilities, including an imaging platform, a molecular phenotyping centre and a data analysis centre, as well as new and much-needed shared office space – all essential to support the IDM’s burgeoning research enterprise.

The new IDM Pavilions were launched on 19 October, together with the African Microscopy Initiative (AMI) Imaging Centre – the biggest microscopy initiative in Africa’s history, and home to some of the world’s best optical microscopes, offering the most advanced imaging technology on the continent.


UCT Team Part of €40m ‘CARE-O-SENE’ SA–Germany Project to Decarbonise Aviation

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is one of the partners in a €40 million (approximately R718 million) three-year research project that aims to develop and improve next-generation catalysts that will play a large role in decarbonising the aviation sector by creating sustainable aviation fuels.

CARE-O-SENE is a German–South African research project which will see seven German and South African partners working together on fuel catalysis research and technology development. Their goal is to make large-scale production of green kerosene possible by 2025.

The project’s goal of producing sustainable aviation fuels more efficiently relies heavily on Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology, which is a way of converting synthesis gas containing hydrogen and carbon monoxide to hydrocarbon products.


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