Page 3 - UCT2012 Health Sciences

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Health Sciences
The FHS makes a significant contribution to UCT’s
research income. We were awarded 496 contracts in
2012, to the value of R393 million. This is approximately
57% of UCT’s total research income, and represents a
decrease of 4% in contracts income from 2011. The FHS
also contributes significantly, in terms of its publication
record, which is very strong, both within UCT and
in comparison with health sciences faculties at other
South African universities. We have been increasing
our publication count steadily over the last few years.
Peer-reviewed, accredited journal output units for 2011
were 452, approximately 67% more than five years ago
and 20% more than in 2010. The 2011 figure, reported in
2012, accounts for 40% of the university’s total.
The faculty is home to 23 research groupings that
are accredited by the University Research Committee,
including nine Medical Research Council units. In the
2012 NRF rating application cycle, an additional 11
FHS researchers received new ratings, including the
faculty’s 11
A rating, when this recognition was given to
Professor Jack van Honk (Department of Psychiatry and
Mental Health). This increased our total number of rated
researchers to 97, including 17 Y ratings. Eight of the
33 DST/NRF SARChI Chairs at UCT are within the FHS,
reflecting our involvement in this research and human
capacity development initiative of the Department of
Science and Technology. Two significant NRF awards were
also bestowed on researchers in the faculty during 2012:
Professor Tim Noakes, of the MRC/UCT Research Unit for
Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, received the NRF’s
Lifetime Achievement Award, and Professor Kelly Chibale,
of the cross-faculty Institute of Infectious Disease and
Molecular Medicine and the Department of Chemistry,
received recognition as the NRF Champion of Research
Capacity Development at Higher Education Institutions
in South Africa.
As part of the faculty’s efforts to foster successful
researchers in the health sciences, 21 of our academics
joined UCT’s Emerging Researcher Programme
during 2012. This capacity-building initiative provides
research development grants, workshops, and
mentoring to emerging researchers, which serves to
strengthen their profiles and prepare them for future
research leadership.
In 2012, the faculty was home to more than 1 500
postgraduate students, 325 of these being PhD
candidates. A total of 444 FHS students received,
between them, 762 scholarships, with a value in excess
of R30 million. The faculty benefited particularly from
a second round of awards (13 PhD, nine postdoctoral)
from the Carnegie Corporation’s
Developing the
Next Generation of Academics
programme. During
two graduation ceremonies, the faculty awarded 76
honours, 133 master’s and 38 PhD degrees across a
wide range of disciplines. In addition, 192 postgraduate
diplomas, one MD and one Doctor of Science were
conferred, bringing the total for the year to 442. This is
the highest number of postgraduate degrees/diplomas
ever awarded in one academic year by the faculty and
was greater than the number of undergraduate degrees
awarded. The faculty was home to 99 postdoctoral
fellows during 2012, representing more than a third of
UCT’s 282. Between them, FHS postdoctoral fellows
received 168 fellowships, valued at over R20 million.
An inaugural Postdoctoral Research Day was held
in November, and fellows from across the university
were invited to increase awareness and encourage
interaction between this contingent of UCT researchers.
The day featured 14 oral and 20 poster presentations.
The growth of health research is being encouraged
at all levels, and there is huge potential for inspiring
undergraduate students to develop research skills. The
annual FHS Undergraduate Research Day was held in
October and included 12 oral presentations and 14
poster presentations selected from 34 entries. In total,
85 undergraduates from across the faculty participated.
Following the review of the FHS in 2011, the faculty
formulated a Strategic Plan for Research in 2012.
The strategic plan covers the period 2013–2020 and
presents as its main aim ‘to advance and encourage
research excellence within the FHS, within the context
of the vision and mission of the Faculty and UCT,
and thereby improve and promote our national and
international standing as a research-led institution’. The
ultimate goal is to improve the health of the people of
South Africa and beyond. The faculty aims to achieve
these targets via six key strategies: improving research
infrastructure, building health research leadership and
capacity for the future, enabling translation of research
into public health impact, encouraging partnerships,
increasing funding, and strengthening governance and
raising standards.
In conclusion, 2012 was a busy and successful year for
the faculty’s research enterprise. We witnessed the
contribution of FHS research to the achievement of a
position among the top fifty health science faculties in
the world during our lively and productive centenary
year. With the finalisation of the new Strategic Plan for
Research, we look forward to the next year of industry,
innovation, and knowledge generation in our faculty.