UCT in the top 10 in the world in mining and mineral engineering

12 July 2017 | Story Carla Bernardo. Photo UCT.

The recently released ShanghaiRanking’s Global Rankings of Academic Subjects (GRAS) 2017 has placed UCT in the top 50 in two academic subjects: mining and mineral engineering (8th) and public health (40th). A further two were in the top 100: geography and ecology.

ShanghaiRankings recently released GRAS, a comprehensive subject ranking, which ranked UCT in the top 100 in the world in four of the the academic subject categories: mining and mineral engineering, public health, geography and ecology. Institutions were ranked according to the number of papers, citations (compared to the world average), international collaboration, papers in top journals and staff winning significant awards.

“These rankings show yet again that our researchers, as well as our students, strive for excellence,” says Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation.

She congratulates all who help put UCT on the map by delivering excellent research outputs: “This goes beyond just the rankings; excellence provides the necessary springboard for real transformation and solving African problems with uniquely African ideas and input.”

UCT performed best in mining and mineral engineering, placing 8th in the world. The top three universities are the University of Science and Technology Beijing (1st), University of Queensland (2nd) and Central South University, China (3rd).

“The Department of Chemical Engineering  is proud of this achievement, especially considering the level of competitors in this field,” says head of department Professor Eric van Steen.

According to van Steen, research on and teaching of minerals processing is part of what gives UCT the edge. He adds that many research groupings in the department – notably, the Centre of Minerals Research, but also the Centre for Bioprocess Engineering Research for their focus on bio-hydrometallurgical processes, the Crystallisation and Precipitation Unit, and the Environmental Process Systems Engineering research group – focus their research on minerals processing.

“Added to this is that these groups frequently interact with local and international industrial partners,” says van Steen.

This has been bolstered by the presence of the DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Minerals Beneficiation and the interdisciplinary research group Minerals to Metals.

Van Steen says his department is “always looking at improving rankings and are currently actively pursuing collaboration with Central South University in China, which is ranked third”.

Public health was another star performer, placing 40th.

“Receiving this kind of external recognition is always positive,” says Professor Landon Myer, head of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine. “It is a validation in a way that helps affirm that our school is doing outstanding work.

“To have our teaching, research and supervision recognised in this way is a true complement to the hard work of those working in this field over the years,” he says.

Now more than ever, says Myer, the school will focus on strengthening its ties across the faculty, developing local capacity and becoming more diverse in order to train the next generation of researchers and academics.

“If we can keep doing this, I think our rankings in any system will only go up,” he says.

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