Faculty highlights

21 September 2020 Read time 8 min.


  • Professor Martine Visser received the NSTF Water Research Commission Award for her water conservation project during the Cape Town water crisis. Read the article.
  • Professor Jennifer Roeleveld received the 2019 International Tax Portfolio Author of the Year Award for Business Operations in South Africa. Read the article.
  • Professor Alan Hirsch and Professor Haroon Bhorat were appointed to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidential Economic Advisory Council with effect from 1 October. Read the article.
  • The Department of Finance and Tax student team of David Brooke, Mercy Kimetto, Eden Gross, Emily Roberts and Mohammad Badat, with faculty advisor Associate Professor Francois Toerien, won the 2019/20 CFA Institute Local University Research Challenge.
  • Professors Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, co-founders of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), the international counterpart to J-PAL Africa at UCT, were two of the three recipients of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Read the article.

Engineering & the Built Environment

Engineering and the Built Environment
  • Dr Dyllon Randall, from the Department of Civil Engineering, received the Institution of Chemical Engineers Warner Prize, the 2020 Royal Society of South Africa Meiring Naudé Medal and a Next Einstein Forum Fellowship.
  • Associate Professor Kathy Michell, head of the Department of Construction Economics and Management, received the South African Women’s Property Network Western Cape Professional of the Year Award in the public sector.
  • Professor Mark Zuidgeest, from the Department of Civil Engineering, was appointed as a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board of the African Centre of Excellence for Development Impact Regional Transport Research and Education Centre in Kumasi, Ghana.
  • Associate Professor Jenny Whittal, from Geomatics, was appointed the Chair of the Africa Regional Network of the International Federation of Surveyors.

Health Sciences

Health Sciences
  • According to the Elsevier report HIV/AIDS research insights: Impacts, trends, opportunities, South Africa is one of the global leaders in the field, and UCT was ranked as the most influential institution, based on its global field-weighted citation impact. Read the article.
  • Dr Shahieda Adams and Professor Mohamed Jeebhay were part of a team that provided technical medical input in South Africa’s historic R5-billion settlement for the gold miners who contracted silicosis and/or pulmonary tuberculosis at work. Read the article.
  • The South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) and the Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa) were part of a multi-site medical trial that produced a candidate vaccine that showed a 50% efficacy in reducing the incidence of lung TB disease in HIV-negative adults with latent TB at the time of vaccination. The results were published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Read the article.


  • In collaboration with the universities of Ghana and Leeds, Professor Herman Wasserman, director of the Centre for Film and Media Studies, was part of an international study that examined the impact of foreign development aid on media systems in seven African countries.
  • The Institute for Creative Arts teamed up with curator Associate Professor Jay Pather to present Infecting the City 2019, a six-day festival of public arts in November. Read the article.
  • Sociologist Dr Faisal Garba is collaborating with colleagues from Coventry University to set up the structure for the UK Research and Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund South–South Migration, Inequality and Development Hub and to lead the project’s research in South Africa. Read the article.
  • Opera singer extraordinaire Pretty Yende was awarded The Order of the Star of Italy – Ordine Stella d’Italia – to honour her groundbreaking impact on the European opera scene.


  • UCT Law placed 77th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and maintained its position in the 100–150 band of the Quacquarelli Symonds World Subject Rankings, and as the top law school on the continent.
  • The first official law lecture of the South African College (as UCT was first known) was delivered on 16 April 1859. In 2019 the faculty celebrated its 160th anniversary, culminating in a celebration on 17 October.
  • The Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DGRU) received a R1million grant to establish the Judicial Institute for Africa, and worked regularly with 15 member countries of the Southern African Chief Justices’ Forum.
  • Professor Jaco Barnard-Naudé, co-director of the Centre for Rhetoric Studies, holds a British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship (2017–2020) in the Westminster Law School. He is investigating the spatial legacy of apartheid.


  • Professor Susan Bourne, from the Department of Chemistry, won a prestigious international Distinguished Women in Chemistry award from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Read the article.
  • Professor Ed Rybicki, from the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, was identified as the Top Intellectual Property Creator for UCT. He received the award from the National Intellectual Property Management Office / Department of Science and Technology. Read the article.
  • Professor Shadreck Chirikure, head of the UCT Archaeological Materials Laboratory, will take up his place at the University of Oxford’s School of Archaeology after winning a Global Professorship from the British Academy for his studies of pre-colonial urban societies in Africa. Read the article.
  • PhD student Dickson Mambwe was one of only 30 early-career scientists selected from across the globe to participate in the 2019 CAS Future Leaders Program, an initiative of the American Chemical Society. Read the article.

Centre for Higher Education Development

  • The UCT Careers Service advertised 263 bursaries (through various mediums) with a total funding of R44million for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with disabilities.
  • Three institutionally responsive teaching and learning collaborative projects gained traction: Academic Advising, Data Analytics for Student Success, and Academic and Professional Staff Development.
  • The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) generated 22 funded projects in the year with a grant value of R80.3
  • The Careers Service ran four career expos – Internships, Accounting, Law and the Epic Job Expo – hosting a total of 149 companies with 625 recruiters attending.
  • Vula’s footprint was over 45000 users and lecture recording was used by 16 632 students.

Graduate School of Business

Graduate School of Businesse
  • The Masterclass in Strategic Client Management programme, co-designed with Standard Bank, won gold at the European Foundation for Management Development Global Excellence in Practice Awards, a first for an African business school. Read the article.
  • The GSB was ranked 51 in the world for its customised programmes by the Financial Times, improving its ranking for the second consecutive year by climbing 16 places, and one of just three African business schools to feature. Read the article.
  • Co-hosted with the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University, Canada, the Embedding Project – a global sustainability initiative – saw the GSB recognised in the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International’s annual 2019 Innovations That Inspire challenge. Read the article.
  • The Case Writing Centre was a winner in the annual Case Writing Competition of the European Foundation for Management Development, taking top honours in the 2018 African Business Cases category. Read the article.

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Annual reviews

Year in Review 2019

21 Sep 2020

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Year in Review 2019

Cover image: Spurred on by the death of UCT student Uyinene “Nene” Mrwetyana, UCT staff and students coalesced on Parliament in protest of increasing sexual and gender-based violence in the country.

Year in Review 2019

Finance, donors, alumni and Council

21 Sep 2020 - >10 min read
UCT in 2019

21 Sep 2020 - 3 min read
2019 in pictures

21 Sep 2020

21 Sep 2020 - >10 min read
Faculty highlights

21 Sep 2020 - 8 min read
Student affairs

21 Sep 2020 - 10 min read


Previous Editions

Year in Review
24 May 2019
Year in Review
17 May 2018
Year in Review
21 Aug 2017
Year in Review
13 Apr 2016


The Newsroom and Publications unit releases an annual report, which is a review of activities on campus during the previous year. It spans nearly all aspects of UCT life, and includes reports from senior executives on issues such as governance, teaching and learning, research, social responsiveness, transformation and employment equity. Each year the report clearly illustrates clearly why UCT is held in such high regard in South Africa, Africa and across the globe.