The University of Cape Town (UCT) has been ranked among the top 100 universities in six subject areas by ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) 2023. These top-ranking subjects are environmental science & engineering, public health, oceanography, clinical medicine, geography, and atmospheric science.
Once again, the university performed best in environmental science and engineering, placing it 33rd in the world. Another excellent performance was in public health, which leapt up to 36th position from the 76–100 band last year.
UCT’s six subjects in the top 100 are:
“We owe this high ranking in environmental science and engineering at least in part to the pioneering research on sustainable water systems by the now retired UCT researcher Dr Jackie King, who won the Stockholm Water prize in 2019 for her work in balanced approaches to water supply,” said Professor Sue Harrison, UCT’s deputy vice-chancellor for Research and Internationalisation.
“UCT’s focus on water continues at the Future Water Institute, a significant and continually expanding interdisciplinary hub for research on sustainable and resilient water futures through water-sensitive approaches. We were particularly pleased that Sustainable Development Goal 6 [SDG6] (clean water and sanitation) was our strongest showing in last year’s Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, ranking ninth in the world.”
She added: “The six subjects in the top 100 are all areas where our research impact corresponds directly with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations’ SDGs.”
“What we did [in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic] was spectacular. It was more than world class.”
Professor Susan Cleary, the head of Public Health and Medicine at UCT, attributed the large jump in public health rankings at UCT and other South African universities to the inspiring response from public health researchers to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we did was spectacular; it was more than world class. We told ourselves that we trained for this time, but we felt the weight of the country on our shoulders. We celebrate what happens when we are ‘stronger together’,” she said.
More than 1 900 of 5 000 universities across 104 countries and regions were ranked in 55 subjects across natural sciences, engineering, life sciences, medical sciences and social sciences. UCT was ranked in 20 of these subject areas.
The 2023 GRAS list from ShanghaiRanking evaluates institutions according to five indicators. Different weights are allocated to the indicators for different subjects. These are:
Earlier this year, ShanghaiRankings published their 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities. UCT was top in Africa and maintained its position in the 201–300 band worldwide.
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