It is the vision of the University of Johannesburg, among other things, to advance freedom, democracy, equality and human dignity as high ideals of humanity through distinguished scholarship and through reputable research and innovation. In its mission statement UJ commits itself to leading, challenging, creating and exploring knowledge. One of its five core values is academic distinction.
The Strategic Plan of the University provides for 10 Strategic Goals and accompanying Key Performance Indicators for each identified goal. Strategic Goal Three reads as follows:
“To establish the University of Johannesburg among the top research universities in the country in terms of nationally and internationally accepted research criteria.”
The 5 Key Performance Indicators for the attainment of Goal Three are as follows:
Accredited research output
Non-subsidy research outcome
Number and level of NRF-rated researchers
Staff profile in terms of research qualifications
Active formal research collaboration with national and international partners
UJ seeks to achieve its research agenda through a carefully constructed governance structure for research development and support. At the head of this research governance structure is the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Advancement. The current incumbent is Prof Adam Habib. Reporting to him is the Executive Director: Research and Innovation, (Dr Christopher Masuku), who is also a member of the Executive Leadership Group. The Executive Director is responsible for both strategic planning and operational management of a Research Office and an Intellectual Property Office. These offices provide strategic and operational support to researchers in the faculties, as well as to extra-faculty researchers within the domains of research and innovation/technology transfer respectively. From the combination of the portfolios of Research and Innovation with Advancement it is clear that it is UJ’s strategic intent to advance the reputation and the resource richness of the institution primarily through its research and innovation capacity and prowess.
The Executive Dean of each Faculty is responsible for the management, support and promotion of research in his/her faculty, and of the development of research capacity, in collaboration with the Executive Director: Research and Innovation and under the direction of the DVC (Research, Innovation and Advancement). Each faculty has a Research Committee and an annual research budget. These committees function in accordance with a Research Strategy for the university and a Senate-approved Research Policy. Research policy and research strategy is determined by the University Research Committee (URC), which is chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Advancement) and comprises the Executive Director (Research and Innovation), the Executive Dean of each faculty, two researchers from each faculty and three representatives from extra-faculty researchers. Institutional research policy and faculty-specific research policies provide for rules, procedures and incentives for the optimal utilisation of research resources, for external resource generation, for postgraduate bursaries and postdoctoral fellowships and for the development of research capacity. Each individual researcher has an own research “account”, into which a percentage of the subsidy income generated through accredited research output is deposited for personal use by the individual researcher to fund his/her research-related activities.
The Council and the Trust of the University both make annual provision for resources dedicated to the promotion of research at UJ. These so-called “central funds” are disbursed by the University Research Committee. Additional research funding is also sourced from subsidy income generated by accredited research output and from income generated by contract research and by sponsored research. Faculties that generate income by means of the presentation of non-subsidised programmes utilise a percentage of that income for the promotion of research in faculties.
An important component of the University’s research profile is postgraduate research. A Senate Committee, the Higher Degrees Committee (HDC), chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Advancement), determines policy in respect of all research-based postgraduate work and provides final quality assurance, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, in respect of all research-based master’s and doctoral qualifications.
Recent strategic interventions that have been made to promote research at UJ include the following:
The creation of 10 research centres of excellence across the different faculties, for which an annual amount of R10m has been made available by the Trust
Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Outstanding Research and for Research Innovation
The provision of resources (R5m-R7m) to fund interdisciplinary research niches that have the demonstrated potential to become internationally competitive in a short space of time
The establishment of a Postgraduate Centre to provide dedicated support to postgraduate students
A Research Incentive Scheme to encourage rating among researchers and to maximise research output
Active collaboration on the development of a national Research Information Management System
Please see the Research Policy and Strategy for more information on the research strategy of the University of Johannesburg
Dr Christopher Masuku