Page 1 - UCT2012 Science

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Faculty of Science
Faculty of
Dean’s Report
Dean of Science
espite a climate of decreasing research income from government for
fundamental research, 2012 saw a number of research successes. The cost
of research continues to grow and, despite the pressure on funding, particularly
from government, staff were successful in raising some R108 million from
government and non-governmental sources to support the research enterprise,
with income from non-governmental sources comprising some R47.6 million of
this total. Income from this external funding from industry, government, public
entities, and statutory bodies was essential in providing bursaries to master’s
and PhD students, postdoctoral fellowships, salaries of research and support
staff, and project running expenses. The number of research contracts (145), and
the income derived therefrom (R47.6 million), were significantly down on 2011
values (260 and R75.6 million respectively), which is a concern. Nevertheless,
despite this funding pressure, the number of PhD and postdoctoral researchers
continued to grow, with 124 postdoctoral fellows spread among the departments,
and 376 PhD and 454 master’s students registered in the faculty. The number of
doctoral degrees awarded in 2012 was 62, and that of master’s degrees was 137,
approximately 20 percent of the latter with distinction; both PhD and master’s
graduate numbers reflect increases over 2011. Two students who excelled in
their postgraduate studies were Ms Andrea Muller, Department of Mathematics
and Applied Mathematics, who received the S2A3 Bronze Medal for her MSc
dissertation, titled
Humpback whales, rock lobsters, and mathematics: Exploration
of assessment models incorporating stock-structures
, and Dr Ranga Jayakodi,
Department of Chemistry, who received the Faculty PhD medal for his thesis, titled
In silico investigation of the mechanism of ricin-catalysed depurination reaction
and design of novel ricin inhibitors
. Research publication output from staff and
postgraduate students remained high, with some 900 peer-reviewed, accredited
publications appearing in 2012.
One measure of our faculty achievements, in terms of recognition and international
standing in the research arena, is through the increasing number of staff receiving
high NRF ratings. In this regard, the faculty is proud of the latest additions to our
current 14 NRF A-rated, 66 B-rated, 44 C-rated, and six P-rated researchers. The
latter, in particular, reflect the growing research strength of our younger academic
staff. Associate Professor Heribert Weigert of the Department of Physics received
an NRF A rating in recognition of his research in Theoretical Physics, and two young
researchers, Dr Åke Fagereng (Department of Geological Sciences) and Dr Andrew
Hamilton (Department of Physics), received NRF P ratings in 2012; Dr Fagereng
Research in the Faculty of Science takes place through 13
separate departments, arranged on disciplinary grounds, and
15 affiliated formal research units and centres accredited by the
University Research Committee. The vast majority of our staff
are active in research and contribute to the overall research
output of the faculty.