A Word From The Dean

18 August 2014
Professor Anton le Roex. Dean of Science.
Professor Anton le Roex. Dean of Science.

The Faculty of Science has a long and distinguished history. Formally established in 1918 by UCT's founding act, today it's a sizeable faculty of 12 departments and multiple research units, whose teaching and research is internationally acknowledged for excellence.

Colleagues of days gone by include two Nobel Prize winners (Aaron Klug and Allan Cormack, both from the Department of Physics), while today, some 40% of our academic staff are rated by the NRF as either international leaders (A-rated), having strong international reputations (B-rated), or being outstanding young researchers with the potential to become world leaders (P-rated). With over 800 research master's and PhD students, the faculty also contributes 25% of the publication output of the university and over a third of the university's annual PhD graduates.There is much to be proud of.

To maintain this high standard, and to increase our international visibility and impact, the faculty agreed earlier this year to focus its research energies on six broad impact areas that straddle the disciplines represented by the existing 12 departments. These impact areas are: African Climate and Development; Biodiversity and the Cape Floristic Region; Chemistry and Biology for Health in Africa; Marine Biology and the Southern Oceans; Southern Skies and the Evolving Universe; Human Evolution and the African Quaternary. These areas leverage our geographic advantage, while building on our established research strengths and critical mass. They also lend themselves to cross- and multi-disciplinary engagement - the watchwords of academic research and teaching today. You can read about each of them in the graphic below.

This strategic focus also informs the overarching theme for this Monday Monthly supplement focused on the sciences: the importance of understanding the world we live in, so that we can leave it an improved world for future generations.

While the stories you'll read in this supplement represent only a fraction of the research, teaching and learning that is going on in the faculty at any one point in time, I hope it inspires you - whether you're involved in the sciences or not - to make connections with and in the faculty; whether by engaging with students, teachers, and colleagues, or simply by considering new perspectives.

Further information about the faculty, its departments, research units and centres can be obtained from the website: www.science.uct.ac.za

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