Information Governance
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
Access to Information for Research and Other Purposes​


​On 22 March 2020, the Stellenbosch University Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, Health Research Ethics Committee, and Research Ethics Committee: Social, Behavioural, and Educational Research released position statements regarding research in the time of COVID-19 [URL:]. To give effect to this position statement, the Division for Information Governance will defer any active permission requests for research that require people be brought together for research purposes.


If you believe your research can continue with only minor edits to the protocol and methodology, we shall keep your request open. If you believe that your research cannot continue or can only continue with substantial revision of the protocol and methodology, please let us know urgently commenting on your matter within our service desk or by contacting, using your permission number IRPSD as the reference.

If we defer your request, you may open a new request (with revised protocol and methodology where appropriate) at


The above applies within the current context. As the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa may change or escalate, we will review the above in line with any future position statement released by the Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, Health Research Ethics Committee, or Research Ethics Committee: Social, Behavioural, and Educational Research.


Kind regards,

The Institutional Permission Team​

Access to Information for Research

Institutional permission (sometimes referred to as gatekeeper permission) serves as a key control to ensure that Stellenbosch University, and its researchers, comply with and give effect to South African privacy-related legislation.  To help meet these goals, the University requires that any individual must first obtain institutional permission from the Division for Information Governance before:

  • conducting research on University-held personal information and/or institutional information; and

  • recruiting University students, staff, alumni, partners, and other stakeholders (based on their affiliation with the ​University) as research participants.

To apply for institutional permission visit 

If you have any queries or need any assistance with submitting a request for institutional permission, contact

For more information you may read the Regulations for recruiting Stellenbosch University​ persons as research participants and for conducting research on Stellenbosch University-held personal and institutional information.​​



1.      Why must I apply for institutional permission? 

The ethical norms and standards followed at Stellenbosch University dictate that, when looking to conduct research with or on an institution's people or data, the researcher must first obtain institutional permission before commencing with the data collection. By law, Stellenbosch University must protect any personal information it collects, stores, or uses. The institutional permission process is one means through which we meet our privacy and information sharing goals; it helps ensure that any research conducted on University-held personal information happens within the bounds of applicable legislation.

2.      How does institutional permission differ from ethical clearance? 

There is naturally some overlap between institutional permission and ethical clearance procedures as both promote the respect and protection of the rights and well-being of human research subjects. Yet the focus of each procedure differs, with institutional permission focusing on Stellenbosch University's responsibilities in addition to the technical execution of the research, such as access rights to our data, data extraction, and information- and cybersecurity procedures. Ethical clearance is a prerequisite for institutional permission, for when taken together, both procedures collectively ensure that researchers have considered all of the potential impacts that their research may have on its human subjects.


Access to Information for Other Purposes

Stellenbosch University is committed to giving effect to the constitutional right to access to information as positioned in the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA).  PAIA states that it aims to "foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public and private bodies by giving effect to the right of access to information" and "actively promote a society in which the people of South Africa have effective access to information to enable them to more fully exercise and protect all of their rights."

To help meet our goals of transparency, SU has positioned its manual in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000.

If you have any enquiries or need assistance with submitting an application in terms of the Act, contact ​​