The Faculty of Science enjoys a pre-eminent position amongst South African universities as a Faculty with a sustained record of high quality research. As the top ranked University in Africa, UCT provides an intellectual home for large numbers of leading international scholars, many of whom are located in the Science Faculty.

The Faculty strives to be internationally competitive, and is a major contributor to the University’s high international ranking through sustained high-impact research output. In the national ranking system of researchers, the Faculty has many staff who are ranked as international leaders in their fields. Scientists at UCT continue to make an impact globally, through publication in the international peer-reviewed literature and participation in international working groups and scientific societies. Nationally, a considerable amount of research effort is directed towards the solution of problems of national importance, and of importance to Africa. Overviews of research activity in the Faculty are available in the annual UCT Research Reports.

Research in the Faculty of Science is carried out by individual researchers, by research groups in Departments, and within a series of formal Research Units, Centres and Institutes. There are 15 formally constituted research groupings who have been accredited by the University Research Committee that cover a wide range of disciplines. The Faculty is also home to eleven NRF DST Research Chairs in fields ranging from Archaeology, through Astronomy, Biology, BioEconomy, Chemistry, Climate Change, Oceanography and Applied Mathematics. It is also home to an NRF/DST Centre of Excellence in Biodiversity. Details of specific research activities can be found by visiting individual departmental and research unit websites.

Whereas research activities across the departments cover a wide range of fields in the natural and mathematical sciences, the Faculty strives in particular to have international impact in six broad areas:

  • African Climate and Development
  • African Biodiversity and the Cape Floristic Region
  • Chemistry for Health in Africa
  • Human Evolution and the African Quaternary
  • Marine Biology and the Southern Oceans
  • Southern Skies and the Evolving Universe