Five new Centres of Excellence to boost research

19 February 2014

Five new Centres of Excellence (CoEs) are to be established at South African universities, the Department of Science and Technology said in a statement on Tuesday.

This would bring the total number to 14 since the centres were first established in the country by the department and the National Research Foundation in 2004.

Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom said the centres “would contribute to South Africa’s knowledge-generation capacity, increase the number of world-class researchers, and attract and retain research excellence”.

The centres aim to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary research among research institutions and provide skills development in priority research areas. They will work in tandem with the National Development Plan, which calls for the expansion of the country’s science and technology system, the department said.

Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, the chief executive of the National Research Foundation, said South Africa’s 14 centres of excellence would ensure that “relevant knowledge and necessary human capacity are developed in research areas that are of importance to the economic life of the country and sustained well being of South Africans”.

Hosted by various higher education institutions, the centres of excellence will cover the following areas:

  • Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, hosted by Wits University.
  • Scientometrics (the study of measuring and analysing science research) and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, hosted by Stellenbosch University.
  • Food security, hosted by the universities of the Western Cape and Pretoria.
  • Child development and livelihoods, hosted by Wits and the University of KwaZulu- Natal.
  • Mineral and energy resource analysis, hosted by the University of Johannesburg.

SAinfo reporter and Department of Science and Technology