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Research strengths

UCT is a research-intensive university with a global reach. We set ambitious research targets and support our students and staff in reaching those goals.

UCT’s researchers are world-leaders in a number of fields, many of which stem from our mission to solve Africa’s most complex challenges and tap into our geographic vantage point at the tip of the continent.

Postgraduates can tap into UCT’s many research strengths, which are designed to facilitate meaningful and impactful work. These strengths include:

Research strengths

  • Astronomy, cosmology and gravity
  • Biodiversity
  • Catalysis: accelerating chemical change
  • Climate and development
  • Data-intensive research
  • Democracy, public policy and citizenship in Africa
  • Drug discovery
  • Future water
  • High-energy physics
  • Human-wildlife conflict
  • Infectious diseases and molecular medicine
  • Marine research
  • Mineral beneficiation
  • Neurosciences  
  • Poverty and inequality
  • Preserving our African heritage
  • Safety and violence
  • Schools
  • Urban Africa

Research institutes

UCT's research institutes are designed to meet our ambitious research strategy and match African research priorities. They focus on climate change, democracy and public policy, infectious disease, poverty and inequality, and more.

Centres of Excellence

UCT hosts several DST/NRF Centres of Excellence, which allow researchers to collaborate across disciplines and institutions on long-term projects that are locally relevant and internationally competitive. Our Centres of Excellence cover projects in biodiversity, chemical engineering, biomedicine and fuel cell technology.

Research groups

Our accredited research groups include staff and students from various departments and faculties. They work across disciplines to understand and alleviate some of society's major challenges.