The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) geographical vantage point at the tip of Africa offers an exhilarating research environment that combines excellence with impact.
As a leading research university, UCT is one of the best places in the world to research Africa-specific problems, from the chemistry of malarial drug discovery to the development of urban Africa. We have strong collaborative networks across the globe and often form a nexus of partnerships between researchers in the global north and global south, particularly Africa. UCT is the first university in Africa to join the International Alliance of Research Universities. It is therefore not surprising that we attract researchers — from postgraduates and postdoctoral fellows to leaders in their field — from all over the continent and the world.
Healthcare for Africa
In a country that faces four epidemics, where most countries only have one or two, UCT has developed expertise in addressing healthcare in Africa. The Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine and the Drug Discovery and Development Centre have produced ground-breaking research, particularly in the areas of HIV, TB and malaria. The Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa is the first of its kind in Africa.
Climate and development
UCT has extensive interdisciplinary expertise in conservation, climate adaptation and community conflict. The AXA Research Fund awarded its first research chair in Africa to the director of the African Climate & Development Initiative, a leading research group. The Future Water Institute builds on UCT’s substantial research footprint in water and encompasses the skills and resources of departments across six faculties. UCT also hosts two Centres of Excellence under the African Research Universities Alliance, which draw together expertise from across the continent: the African Centre of Excellence for Inequalities Research and the Centre of Excellence in Climate and Development.
Experts in the southern skies
Through its global experts in the field, such as Professor George Ellis who co-wrote The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with Stephen Hawking, and leading role in the Square Kilometre Array, UCT is a growing hub for astronomical and astrophysics research in Africa. Professor Russ Taylor is heading up the university’s involvement in the Square Kilometre Array project and the big-data challenges it brings.
UCT’s latest research
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1 May 2020 - 1 April 2021
Subject/journal group: All
The table to the right includes counts of all research outputs for University of Cape Town (UCT) published between 1 May 2020 - 1 April 2021 which are tracked by the Nature Index.
Hover over the donut graph to view the FC output for each subject. Below, the same research outputs are grouped by subject. Click on the subject to drill-down into a list of articles organized by journal, and then by title.
Note: Articles may be assigned to more than one subject area.
Outputs by subject (Share)
|Earth & Environmental Sciences||26||6.68|
Highlight of the month
Beetles tricked into ‘mating’ with rare orchid
© Saurav Pandey Photography/Moment/Getty Images
A scent released by a critically rare African orchid induces male longhorn beetles to ‘mate’ with the flower and thereby pollinate it.
While sexual mimicry is a common tactic to drive insect pollination among flowers pollinated by wasps and bees, there’s limited evidence that this approach is used to attract beetle pollinators.
Now, a team led by University of Cape Town researchers found that male longhorn beetles exhibited sexual behaviours when they visited the orchid. This behaviours included biting the petals (which resemble antennae) and curving their abdomen into the flower and ejaculating.
The researchers identified a particular compound in the flower’s scent that attracted the male beetles, leading them to conclude that the chemical mimics a pheromone secreted by female longhorn beetles.
The team also observed several beetles carrying pollen from the rare flower, suggesting other plants existed in the same area.
- Current Biology 31, 1962–1969 (2021). doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.03.037
See more research highlights from University of Cape Town (UCT)
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30 Oct 2020
Top articles by Altmetric score in current window
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
1 May 2020 - 1 April 2021
International vs. domestic collaboration by Share
- 16.47% Domestic
- 83.53% International
Note: Hover over the graph to view the percentage of collaboration.
Top 10 domestic collaborators by Share (60 total)
- University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa
- Domestic institution
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits University), South Africa
National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), South Africa
Department of Science and Technology (DST), South Africa
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa
DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation, South Africa
Stellenbosch University (SU), South Africa
South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), South Africa
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), South Africa
NRF South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), South Africa
North-West University (NWU), South Africa
Top 10 international collaborators by Share (1586 total)
- University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa
- Foreign institution
National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), Italy
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), China
Max Planck Society, Germany
French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), France
University of Oxford, United Kingdom (UK)
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Switzerland
UCL, United Kingdom (UK)
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (UK)
National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States of America (USA)
University of Washington (UW), United States of America (USA)
Note: Collaboration is determined by the fractional count (Share), which is listed in parentheses.
Affiliated joint institutions and consortia
- ALICE Collaboration, Switzerland
- Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), South Africa
- Centre for the Study of Antimicrobial Resistance (CAMRA), South Africa
- Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), United States of America (USA)
- Comprehensive International Program of Research on AIDS (CIPRA), South Africa
- DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research (CBTBR), South Africa
- DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis in South Africa (c*change), South Africa
- DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (CoE-MaSS), South Africa
- DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences (CoE-Pal), South Africa
- DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Birds as Keys to Biodiversity Conservation, South Africa
- Functional Annotation of the Mammalian Genome (FANTOM), Japan
- Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH), South Africa
- International Centre for Education, Marine and Atmospheric Sciences over Africa (ICEMASA), South Africa
- MRC Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders, South Africa
- MRC-UCT Gynecological Cancer Research Centre, South Africa
- More Medicines for Tuberculosis (MM4TB), Switzerland
- Nansen-Tutu Centre for Marine Environmental Research, South Africa
- Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), United States of America (USA)
- SAMRC Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders Research Unit, South Africa
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