University of Pretoria: Leader in postgraduate studies and research

“Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it.” – Niels Bohr

As a leading, research-focused institution in the heart of South Africa, the University of Pretoria (UP) helps produce the most pivotal solutions to issues of the 21st century world. Standing as one of the largest and most influential institutions in the region, UP has held the title of producing the highest research output in the nation since 1996.

“Each year the increasing number of National Research Foundation-rated researchers is evidence of the University’s commitment to attracting and retaining researchers of the highest distinction, as well as young researchers with the potential for research excellence,” the institution notes.

“The University’s annual recognition of exceptional academic achievement bears further testimony to the recognition of rising stars, and women in research, in addition to the recognition of established researchers with well-recognised national and international profiles,” it explains.

Promising a breadth and depth of research programmes that cover everything from the monitoring of water quality; to the RhODIS Rhino DNA barcoding programme; to the Food Security programme that aims to provide homegrown solutions for starvation; even to the Pine Tree Pest Biocontrol programme that strives to conserve our forests; the impact of UP’s ground-breaking studies are broad and all-encompassing.

As a globally-facing institution with universal resonance, UP serves as an engine for positive change within some of the world’s most impoverished nations, researching fields of critical importance in the world’s developing nations – especially those in Africa and in the global South. On top of bolstering the impact and international visibility of current research practice, UP consistently concentrates resources where the greatest impact can be leveraged, driving positive change in a complex and rapidly-changing world.

For almost five years, UP has been actively refining its resources into a selective number of institutional and faculty research themes, currently hosting a number of dedicated Research Institutes, Units and Centres of Excellence, as well as Industry Chairs in a wide range of areas of research excellence.

Pretoria holds the outcomes of University-funded research in incredibly high regard, consolidating academic expertise while establishing a critical mass, which in turn presents exceptional research and postgraduate training opportunities for respective students of these fields.

Some of these world-class programmes are housed in the following faculties:

Economic and Management Sciences, Education, Engineering, Built Environment and IT, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Theology, Veterinary Science, and the Gordon Institute of Business Science. With such an expansive portfolio of courses committed to the betterment of a connected, global society, UP inspires students to become real agents of change in their specialised field of study.

At the centre of the University’s long-term strategic plan, UP 2025, lies elite research practice -an area in which UP consistently strives to achieve global impact and relevance. Consequently, the University places heavy emphasis on multidisciplinary and collaborative work across various fields of knowledge and geographic borders.

Collaborative partnerships with research groups, universities and institutions based primarily in Africa are deemed invaluable within UP’s esteemed community. While both its faculties and research entities prioritise continent-facing outcomes, it’s believed that the brand-new Future Africa campus – a dynamic living, learning and research environment specifically-tailored to the needs of UP scholars – will soon become a place where Africa’s leading scientists come together in the name of ground-breaking transdisciplinary research.

“Research at the University of Pretoria is at the heart of our long term plan, UP 2025, and our vision to be a leading research-intensive university in Africa, recognised for making a difference,” states the institution’s Research Matters website. “Our progress towards achieving this vision and identity is evident in the diversity of research undertaken in the nine Faculties and one Business School, and in the many Institutes, Centres and Units.

“The University takes great pride in the research output and quality of our researchers, from the A-rated scientists and established researchers, to the emerging young talent who, taken together, make up UP’s research community,” the Faculty explains. “Researcher achievements are annually recognised in the Academic Achievement Awards, and showcased in a Research Review that illustrates the scale of research undertaken at UP.”

Over the past six years, the number of non-native students enrolled at UP has grown by 13 percent; an increase largely owed to the institution’s status as a member of no less than 20 high-impact global networks and associations. UP’s international profile ultimately rests on four fundamental pillars: participation in international higher education associations; foreign student enrolments; active international partnerships; and publications co-authored with scholars from beyond the borders of South Africa.

As an institution that continually exceeds expectations in all four distinct regions, it’s easy to see how Pretoria’s revolutionary postgraduate research environment continues to attract top talent from all four corners of the globe.

“If you are an independent thinker who is eager to discover and create new knowledge that will help make a difference in your community and in the world, then UP is a place where you can excel,” Professor de la Ray concludes.

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