UCT Post-graduate studies - Page 45



Research is, at its
best, profoundly
transformative.
This is a particular
imperative for the
University of Cape
Town, located as
we are in a country,
and on a continent,
of vast wealth and
deprivation – with
the opportunity to
make a difference.
Data-intensive research
UCT is rapidly becoming a
hub for astronomical and
astrophysics research in
Africa. In order to address the shortage
of skills required for dealing the dataintensive nature research, UCT (in
collaboration with the University of
the Western Cape) is taking the lead
in creating the framework to introduce
African researchers to researchintensive data and turn it into actionable
knowledge. While astronomy and
astrophysics are the main focus areas for
developing and transferring these skills,
other areas such as bioinformatics and
statistical sciences will be included.
Drug discovery
The Drug Discovery and
Development Centre (H3-D)
at UCT was established to
close the gap that exists between the
institution’s research and the development
of new medicines. By adopting a
multidisciplinary approach and the use of
modern technology platforms, the H3-D
has become the leading drug-discovery
organisation on the African continent.
The centre is also committed to training a
new generation of African scientists with
the key skills needed for integrated drug
discovery and development.
Image by Mathew Bone
High-energy physics
To gain new knowledge,
physicists have been colliding
atomic particles at ever
higher energies. At present the highest
beam energies are available at the Large
Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva,
Switzerland. The Department of Physics
at UCT has been participating in the work
of the LHC by contributing to two of its
large detectors. This is now an important
component of the Department of Physics
43
and contributes strongly to its visibility on
the international scene.
Marine research
The cold Benguela current
and warmer Agulhas current,
together with the southern
ocean, are central to African climate
variability in the region and its diverse
biology. South Africa’s position between
the currents, with ready access to three
major world oceans, makes it an optimal
site for marine research. The UCT Marine
Institute (Ma-Re) is advancing knowledge
of this unique marine environment and its
associated environmental issues.
Mineral beneficiation
South Africa’s economic growth
is greatly dependent on the
efficiency and sustainability of
its mining industry. Mining research at UCT
explores ways to address these challenges
and also investigates the role of policy
and law in South African mining. Here, the
focus has primarily been on the competing
demands of nationalisation and private
ownership of the country’s natural resources
and how it has had an impact on relations
between government and national and
international investors.
Preserving our African
heritage
Globalisation presents many
challenges involved in preserving
Africa’s identity – it is the topic of ongoing
debate. One thing, however, remains clear:
during this time of rapid development, it is
essential that Africans are empowered to
shape their own identity. Since narrative
shapes identity, UCT supports a variety of
projects that give a voice to the different
histories of South Africa and the continent.
In this way, UCT aims to contribute to a
process of respect, growth and healing.





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