Stellenbosch University's (SU) vision is to be an inclusive, innovative, and future focused institution: a place of discovery and excellence where both staff and students are thought leaders in advancing knowledge in the service of all stakeholders.
Its strategic priorities moving into the future are to prioritise internationalisation, to broaden access, to sustain our momentum on excellence, to enhance our societal impact and to realise systemic transformation.
Stellenbosch University's (SU) vision is to be an inclusive, innovative, and future focused institution: a place of discovery and excellence where both staff and students are thought leaders in advancing knowledge in the service of all stakeholders. Its strategic priorities moving into the future are to prioritise internationalisation, to broaden access, to sustain our momentum on excellence, to enhance our societal impact and to realise systemic transformation.
Stellenbosch University is living out its vision in its continuous pursuit of excellence and aims to remain at the forefront of its chosen focal areas, by gaining national and international standing on the basis of its research outputs, by being relevant to societal needs, and by being enterprising, innovative and self-renewing. SU's research efforts are aligned with national and international development objectives. The institution vigorously pursues research excellence and capacity development and strives to be a true knowledge pioneer and partner. The university prides itself on the following:
At the forefront of Stellenbosch University's research excellence and global engagement are seven Centres of Excellence (CoEs) of which four are national chairs established by the National Department of Science and Innovation. The CoEs are physical or virtual centres of research that concentrate existing research excellence and capacity and resources to enable researchers to collaborate across disciplines and institutions on long-term projects that are locally relevant and internationally competitive in order to enhance the pursuit of research excellence and capacity development.
The CoEs at Stellenbosch University are -
- the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB);
- the Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA);
- the Centre for Biomedical TB Research (CBTBR) and
- the Centre for Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy.
The other three national centres include -
- the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES);
- the AU/NEPAD Networks of Water Centres of Excellence and
- the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NIThep).
The University hosts 51 research chairs of which 28 form part of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) of the National Research Foundation (NRF), funded by the South African Department of Science and Innovation. The research chairs hosted by Stellenbosch University are positioned strategically around specific research areas where Stellenbosch University is seen as a leader in the field and where existing resources and capacity exist for a focused knowledge and human resource intervention. The aim of the initiative is to make South Africa competitive in the international knowledge economy based on its existing and potential strengths.
Other research chairs hosted by Stellenbosch University include the Harry Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law; the SANRAL (South African Roads Agency Limited) Chair in Pavement Engineering; the Anton Mostert Chair of Intellectual Property; the Agricol Chair in Agronomy; the ERWAT Research Chair in Wastewater Management and the Scater Solar Chair in Photovoltaic (PV) Systems.
Stellenbosch University has the one of the highest number of NRF-rated researchers in the country, totaling 484 in 2020, including 14 A-rated researchers who are regarded as world leaders in their respective fields of research. According to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), SU had the second highest number of research outputs (research publications, masters and doctoral degrees awarded) per capita and the third highest weighted research output per capita in 2018. Recently, Stellenbosch University again improved its position on the Times Higher Education World University rankings. SU has been ranked in the 251–300 category by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, which places the university as third in South Africa. SU is also ranked 24th on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020: Emerging Economies.