The Postgraduate Centre and Funding Office is a serviceprovision area accountable to the university’s Postgraduate Studies Funding Committee, which in turn, reports to the Board for Graduate Studies, both of which are in the academic cluster of committees and accountable to Senate.  

Increasing the absolute numbers of both local and international postgraduate students, and improving retention rates, are two of UCT’s primary goals. Important for the success of these goals and objectives is a strong cohort of postgraduate students. In order to ensure that the professional sector of the country and continent is adequately provided for through the emergence of excellent graduates, broad-based support for these sectors is an imperative.

Similarly, support to postdoctoral researchers is crucial, as these academics-intraining constitute a very valuable link in the research production chain and relieve the dwindling numbers of academic staff and researchers in South Africa and on the continent of Africa. The numbers of postdoctoral researchers that register for up to five years at UCT have increased steadily since 2002, and the university hopes to further increase these numbers in the next five years.

Support structures and resource mechanisms that add quality to the lives and experience of these individuals have been established, and are constantly being monitored, reviewed, and extended. The office’s work supports the university to achieve targeted recruitment and, through its policies and practices, encourages students to complete their degrees and to graduate in the minimum time-frame.

The appointment of the Director of Postgraduate Studies in 2013 will allow an increased focus on the consolidation and extension of such support structures.

Several strategic partnerships to support the postgraduate sector were continued and new ones were established in 2012. These include the UCT/CSIR Scholarship programme, the UCT/SKA Doctoral Scholarships, and master’s bursaries from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences. The UCT PhD staff bursaries as well as opportunities provided through the Worldwide Universities Network initiative will become operational in 2013. These awards target students in specific areas of study and are sponsored by the university and external partners.

Trusts, foundations, and individuals provide significant contributions to the support and development of postdoctoral research fellows and senior students at UCT. The sponsors of such programmes provide the university with opportunities to attract the country’s best postdoctoral researchers and students, and enable them to pursue their research and studies with minimal financial stress. Postdoctoral research fellows are strongly supported by individual departmental fellowships, the National Research Foundation, and through generous sponsorship by the Claude Leon Foundation.

The university’s flagship postgraduate scholarship programmes include the AW Mellon Cross-faculty Scholarships, the Harry Crossley Research Fellowships, the UCT/Harry Crossley Green Matter Scholarship, the D & E Potter Fellowship programme, the Carnegie Corporation’s Developing the Next Generation of Academics programme, the UCT/CSIR scholarships, and the Woolworths Fellowships. These programmes provided full-cost funding to carefully selected students, most of whom are required, as a condition of award, to plan and hold ex-departmental seminars based on their research.

International and refugee students received around 30% of all funding administered by the office in 2012. Included are the Faculty International Students’ Bursaries established to provide funds to international students to cover the International Term Fee, the UCT Scholarships for International and Refugee Students, and funds provided to international and refugee students for mobility. The generous grant from the Sigrid Rausing Trust, which provided scholarships for refugee students, and for which we remain very grateful, came to an end in 2012.

The UCT Postgraduate Centre The Postgraduate Centre is a dedicated space for master’s and doctoral students, as well as postdoctoral research fellows, in which they can meet, and use the computer and Internet stations provided. A lounge area provides space for users to read a variety of journals, magazines, and newspapers, and the adjacent TB Davie Seminar Room provides a space to hold seminars. Through its activities and available facilities, the Postgraduate Centre aims to promote the interests of postgraduate students and postdoctoral research fellows in synergy with faculty and departmental facilities and services.

Director: Postgraduate Centre and Funding Office