The purpose of the Research and Innovation Division (RID) is to provide strategic and operational support for research in the University. It does this through fi ve administrative functions: research administration; research management; postgraduate support, particularly through the Postgraduate Centre; intellectual property management and statistical analysis, through Statkon.
Aligned with these functions and with the University’s strategic plans, key performance indicators with goals and targets are defi ned for the short (annual), intermediate (5-year) and long (10-year) terms.
The key performance indicators are:
• accredited research output;
• proportion of international to national research publications;
• number of active researchers;
• number of NRF-rated researchers;
• number of postgraduate enrolments.
The RID met all of its targets for the year. 2010 showed a considerable expansion of the research output and profi le, along with a consolidation of procedures and systems, and brought the University closer to its strategic goal of being a research-focused institution.
The research output of the University, as accredited by the DHET, has continued to grow steadily, increasing by 43% from 325.99 units in 2006 to 466.82 units in 2009 and by 20% between 2008 and 2009 alone. The 466.82 units consisted of 412.64 units for journal articles, 12.13 units for books and chapters and 42.05 units for conference proceedings.
According to the accredited research units awarded by DHET in 2009, the strongest research areas in terms of overall research output are Life Sciences and Physical Sciences (Classifi cation of Educational Subject Matter - CESM 15), Languages, Linguistics and Literature (CESM 12), Business Commerce and Management Sciences (CESM 4) and Agriculture and Renewable Natural Resources (CESM 1).
PROPORTION OF INTERNATIONAL TO NATIONAL PUBLICATIONS
There has been a significant increase in the percentage of publications in international, as compared with national, peer-reviewed journals. In 2008, the proportion of international to national research publications was 40:60. In 2009, this changed to a ratio 60:40.
Active researchers are defined as those who are involved in publishing accredited research outputs. At the end of 2010, there were 380 active researchers at UJ. The University has policies in place to incentivise the publishing of research results, and there has been a steady increase in the number of active researchers and in the amount of research published.
The South African National Research Foundation (NRF) rates researchers according to a hierarchical system.
A-rated researchers are those who are unequivocally recognised by their peers as being leading international scholars in their field for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs. B-rated researchers enjoy considerable international recognition from their peers for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs. C-rated researchers have a sustained recent record of productivity in the field and are recognised by their peers as having produced a body of good quality work, the core of which has coherence and attests to ongoing engagement with the field and as having demonstrated the ability to conceptualise problems and apply research methods to investigating them. P-rated researchers are normally younger than 35 years of age, have held a doctorate or equivalent qualification for less than five years and, on the basis of exceptional potential shown in their published doctoral work and/or their research outputs in their early postdoctoral careers, are considered likely to become future leaders in their field.
Y-rated researchers are 40 years of age or younger, have held a doctorate or equivalent qualification for less than five years at the time of application to be rated, and, based on their performance and productivity as researchers during their doctoral studies and/or early postdoctoral careers, are recognised as having the potential to establish themselves as researchers within a five-year period after evaluation.
During 2010, the University continued to pay marked attention to increasing the number of rated researchers, with the Research Office implementing a programme to identify potential applicants and to assist researchers to move from a lower to a higher rating. At the end of 2010, the University had 90 rated researchers compared with 72 in the previous year. This increase was largely due to existing staff being rated, rather than new staff joining the University. Of particular significance was the growth, from 42 to 52, in the number of C-rated researchers.
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.
Dr Christopher Masuku
Executive Director: Research and Innovation