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Engaged research


What is engaged research

Engaged research includes the different ways that researchers meaningfully interact or collaborate with various stakeholders over any or all stages of a research process, from issue formulation, the production or co-creation of new knowledge, to knowledge evaluation and dissemination. Stakeholders may include target communities, and members of the public or groups that are somehow related to the research process.   

Engaged research is becoming an increasingly important force in addressing and helping communities solve local problems. Academic researchers use different terms to describe this kind of inquiry, including engaged research, applied research, community-based research, and applied research partnerships. Despite the variety of labels, however, all of this research has a common focus on the applica­tion of academic knowledge to specific community-based issues.  

Through engaged research initiatives, communities and institutions of higher educa­tion often work together to identify the problem to be studied, investigate that problem through data collection, analyse and interpret the collected information, and decide how to implement an intervention based on the findings. Individual studies may include some or all of these steps of shared research and action.


Engaged research @ SU

Stellenbosch University is tackling the challenges facing our world and society in new and innovative ways. The engaged research portfolio helps to connect the university's multidisciplinary research expertise with business, government, non-governmental organisations, and the wider community. 

The Division for Social Impact engages these diverse groups to work with the university and match the needs of the society with university research in order to deliver relevant and excellent research and create innovative solutions that positively impact lives, livelihoods, society and the environment.  

The DSI works with external stakeholders in a number of ways, formally and informally, through Memoranda of Understanding (MOU's); Service Level Agreements (SLA's); and various Engagement Forums.

The Division provides capacity building workshops and short courses for our academics and graduate students who conduct or intend to conduct engaged research. The division also manages internal and external incentives for engaged research.

Engaged research opportunities

Opportunities for collaborative research with external partners

Existing partners of the Ukwanda Rural Clinical School

Trevor Manuel Primary School


Examples of engaged research projects 

Risk assessment of backyard dwellers in Klapmust (in partnership with the Stellenbosch Municipality) - view summary & full report        

The excavation project of the histories of Stellenbosch and Kayamandi - view summary & full report

Traffic transgressions (in partnership with the City of Cape Town) - view summary & full report        


To explore opportunities in collaborative research, please contact:  

Mawethu Nyakatya​​

Phone: 021 808 9142