Division for Research Development
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

​Research Information

Stellenbosch University (SU) has a vision to be established as a leading research-intensive university on the African continent by pursuing excellence and remaining at the forefront of its chosen focus  areas, by gaining national and international standing on the basis of its research outputs, by being relevant to the needs of the community, and by being enterprising, innovative and self-renewing. SU is one of the top research-focused universities in South Africa. 

According to the Department of Higher Education and Training's official report regarding the 2015 publications (assessed in 2016), the weighted research output per full-time SU staff member (both publications and postgraduate students) was 2.92, and the publication output per capita 1.32. This makes SU one the most research-productive institutions nationwide.

SU is further cementing its reputation as a world-class institution by regularly appearing on a number of global rankings, placing it in the top 2% of the world's universities. In Africa, it is consistently ranked in the top four.

In the latest edition of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2017), Stellenbosch University was ranked in the 401-500th category in the world. Another reputable ranking system, QS World University Rankings, ranked the University at number 395 in the world and number 35 in BRICS and Emerging Economies. The Leiden University ranked Stellenbosch 468th out of the top 500 universities worldwide on its CWTS Leiden Ranking list of 2016. This list also ranked the University third in South Africa and 4th in Africa. SUNScholar, SU's open  access repository, was ranked number one in Africa in the July 2016 edition of The Ranking Web of World Repositories.

The University has 41 Research Chairs of which 24 are National Research Foundation (NRF)  SARChI chairs (South African Research Chairs Initiative), funded by the Department of Science and Technology. SU has one of the highest number of NRF-rated scientists in the country – 430 in 2017. More than 300 postdoctoral research fellows were hosted at SU in 2016.

In 2016, Stellenbosch University (SU) set two new records by awarding 8 339 qualifications in total, including 278 doctoral degrees, which count as research outputs. Approximately 47% of our PhD's were awarded to candidates from the previously disadvantaged black, coloured and Indian population groups, an 8% increase since 2015. 31,6% of or our doctoral degrees were awarded to candidates from African countries other than South Africa. This confirms SU's valuable contribution to the development of human capital as a national and continental asset.

SU has well-established, far-reaching, multi-layered networks of international partners, with more than 150 bilateral institutional arrangements in 45 countries across six continents. Turning to Africa, in 2016 SU had 350 active projects with 782 partners (institutions and individuals) in 43 countries.

SU as a university rooted in Africa needs to bear fruit for the people of our continent. The challenge for us is to be locally relevant, with regional impact, while also globally competitive. To achieve this goal, we need to continuously focus on the  unique areas in which we have developed expertise over time and build collaborative networks as a knowledge partner in South Africa, the rest of the continent and further afield. 

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