Research capacity building (which impacts on the research profile and research footprint) was supported by the appointment of postdoctoral fellowships and research professors in selected faculties and programmes in the Faculties of Humanities, Science, and Engineering and the Built Environment. The NRF awarded UJ a Chair in Social Change, while an application for a Chair of Mathematics Numeracy was approved to progress to the second phase.
Research capacity is a function of the number of postgraduate students (master’s and doctoral) enrolled in an institution, and it remains a challenging endeavour for the University not only to halt their decline but to increase their presence. By the end of 2009 only 13% (6,440 out of 49,818) were pursuing postgraduate qualifications, of whom 8.3% (4,111) were at postgraduate below Master’s level, and 4.7% (2,327) at Master’s and Doctoral levels. The Enrolment Plan 2011-2013 of the University has set a target of 11% postgraduate below Master’s and 5% Master’s and Doctoral students by the end of 2013.
The establishment of a Postgraduate Centre and a review of the postgraduate bursary system are also intended to assist UJ in reversing a downward trend in postgraduate enrolment. The recommendation for a differentiated holistic bursary system takes into account the tuition fees in different faculties and programmes, and a more focused approach on the feeder stream honours students.
As the following table shows, the number of enrolled postgraduate students has increased slightly over the past five years, and the university’s Staff Qualifications Programme, which is aimed at assisting all currently under-qualified academic staff members to complete a master’s degree by the end of 2011, should positively affect postgraduate student output in the coming years.