UCT Research Office

UCT Research Office

UCT Research Office,
The Research Office aims to further UCT’s vision of becoming a research-intensive university with a global reach. Through engagement with relevant parties, it operates as a pivot between academics and the external research environment, and helps to align research interest and expertise with institutional priorities, as well as national and international imperatives.
The scope of activities includes expanding access to external funding opportunities and grants, developing and supporting proposals, administering a suite of internal grants through a proposal-driven, committee-managed process, accrediting and evaluating the university’s research groupings, tracking UCT’s research output and impact, managing researcher development programmes, fostering a culture of inter- and transdisciplinary research, forging new and strategic partnerships, and implementing the strategic projects of the University Research Committee. The office is currently organised into four units, with a fifth node envisaged for 2013, when the Office of Research Integrity will be established, which will work collaboratively with researchers and the relevant Senate ethics committees to promote responsible conduct of research, and further enhance the service-oriented ethos of the office.
Key to research success is the funding with which to undertake research. In a national funding landscape with rapidly diminishing resources, the Research Office invested in a database of funding opportunities that provides access to all funding opportunities for which researchers on the African continent are eligible. Research Professional Africa is a customisable database that provides researchers with access to information about funding opportunities specific to their own research areas. When the database was rolled out to the UCT community during 2012, subscriptions peaked at 550 by year end, with more than 3 000 international funding opportunities being made available to researchers. Furthermore, the Research Office provided substantive technical support to researchers applying for funding from the United States’ National Institutes of Health (NIH), which resulted in 20 such proposals being developed in 2012 with UCT as the applicant institution. On the national front, the Research Office actively provided assistance with 400 applications for funding and rating from the NRF.
In addition to supporting access to grants, another key priority is to help develop researcher capacity. The Research Office runs pioneering programmes to assist academics in furthering their profiles, in which all faculties participate.
The Emerging Researcher Programme (ERP) reached its tenth year in 2012 and continues to provide support that ranges from counselling by a programme co-ordinator to more structured mentorship sessions, as well as workshops and seminars. It awards modest grants through a developmental process of proposal writing and its impact is reflected in the rapid growth from 44 participants in its founding year to 548 by the end of 2012. Fifty-six joined in 2012 alone.
Through the Programme for the Enhancement of Research Capacity (PERC), the Research Office works with faculties, departments, and individuals to offer support to the more established researcher. Activities to support this sector of the research community include preparing staff to apply for NRF rating and/or re-evaluation, promoting inter- and transdisciplinary research, providing financial and intellectual support for Africa-based research and the production of Africa-centred knowledge.
The work of PERC and ERP is further complemented by Supervision Training and the Mellon Visiting and Retired Scholars Mentorship Project. The latter aims at giving further individualised support to young academics through structured mentoring organised within selected host departments that apply for such support through a competitive process. (Also see feature on research development initiatives at UCT, on pages 22–25).
The support provided by the Research Office is delivered within the framework of the university’s mission and also its research strategy. In collaboration with the International Academic Programmes Office, the office strives to realise UCT’s Afropolitan vision of playing a consistent and visible role on the continent that is in line with the university’s position as one of Africa’s leading universities. Already a recipient of the NIH’s International Extramural Associate Research Development Award (IEARDA), the office was awarded a supplementary grant that enabled collaboration with other IEARDA grantees to transfer their skills to research managers and administrators on the African continent. In conjunction with the University of Zambia, Moi University in Kenya and Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda, workshops were conducted in Lusaka and Cape Town in 2012. The latter workshop, hosted by the Research Office, was attended by 38 delegates from 25 institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.
UCT’s relationship with international organisations plays an equally important role in fostering our engagement with the international research community. Such relationship-building is supported by the Research Office and happens in a variety of ways, including participation in formally structured bodies, such as the Worldwide Universities Network, as well as through formal agreements with strategically selected international partners where there is already evidence of strong and productive collaboration in a selected area. In 2012, special focus was given to partnerships with the International Centre for Education, Marine and Atmospheric Sciences over Africa, a joint initiative between several laboratories in South Africa and France, and the establishment of a consortium focused on social science research and PhD/researcher training with the London School of Economics and the universities of Ghana, Dar es Salaam, Ibadan, Makerere, and Nairobi.
Key to the success of each of the support structures is effective communication and the appropriate organisation and storage of knowledge. Information linking each of the above, coupled with an effective grants-management system, will soon be incorporated into an online Research Portal being developed in partnership with UCT’s Information and Communication Technology Services. There is also a concerted shift towards open-access platforms, with policies and structures currently under development to maximise open scholarship in the realm of research.
Over the last year in particular, and thanks to a very efficient and hardworking team, the Research Office has expanded its partnership with the research community. We salute our researchers and look forward to an excellent year of productivity ahead as we consolidate and build on these foundations.

Contact us

Research Office


Marilet Sienaert Dr Marilet Sienaert
Executive Director
Tel: 021 650 4402
Christina Pather Ms Christina Pather
Deputy Director
Tel: 021 650 2434
Bekezela Zulu Ms Bekezela Zulu
Admin Officer
Tel: 021 650 1754

Research Finance and Operations

The finance and operations unit manages the financial planning and budgeting, financial analysis, evaluation and reporting as well as financial control and risk management for the Research Office. The operations arm of the cluster covers all administrative and financial coordination within the Research Office, as well as space management, health and safety liaison and the logistical coordination of visits to the office.

Leigh Wentzel Ms Leigh Wentzel
Manager: Research Finance
Tel: 021 650 1753
Jayne Alexander Ms Jayne Alexander
Senior Officer: Operations
Tel: 021 650 5440
Ethel TesnarMs Ethel Tesnar
Admin Assistant: Finance and Operations
Tel: 021 650 5514

Global Strategy and Visibility 

The global strategy and visibility unit is the strategic arm of the Research Office, and includes a number of functions all to a greater or lesser extent focused on ensuring that the university’s research endeavour is visible internationally. This includes identifying and nurturing international partnerships and networks with a research focus, supporting strategically important interdisciplinary research groups, the analysis of research data (such as co-publishing data and international rankings) to best position the university globally, and the communication and marketing of research.

Carolyn Newton Ms Carolyn Newton
Manager: Global Strategy & Visibility
Tel: 021 650 1715
Dianne Bond Dr Dianne Bond
Senior Data Analyst
Tel: 021 650 5490
Wilna venterMs Wilna Venter
Research Collaboration Specialist
Tel: 021 650 4380
Natalie Simon Ms Natalie Simon
Senior Officer: Communications and Marketing
Tel: 021 650 1845
Jess Oosthuizen Ms Jess Oosthuizen
Senior Officer: Communications and Marketing
Tel: 021 650 1951
Carla Benardo Ms Latiefa Jattiem
Senior Administrative Officer
Tel: 021 650 5440
Latiefa JattiemMs Fikiswa Matoti
Administrative Assistant
Tel: 021 650 5204

Office of Research Integrity

The office of research integrity works collaboratively with research ethics, animal ethics and biosafety committees as well as individual researchers under the auspices of the senate ethics in research committee and senate animal ethics committee and the institutional biosafety committee, to promote responsible conduct of research (RCR). Our scope and function is broad and includes topics such as research ethics, (financial) conflicts of interest, misconduct, authorship issues, regulatory and funder compliance and, whistle-blowing. We provide advice and support, facilitate many compliance processes and strive to promote RCR across the broad research landscape.

Lyn Horn Dr Lyn Horn
Senior Manager
Tel: 021 650 1287
Paula SanerMs Paula Saner
Research Integrity Coordinator
Tel: 021 650 1256
Sidney EngelbrechtMr Sidney Engelbrecht
Tel: 021 650 5057
Werner Van Der RosssMr Werner Van Der Ross
Senior Administrative Officer: Compliance
Tel: 021 650 2501

Research Support Services

Research support services are responsible for a number of services in support of the university’s researchers and the research endeavour. These include the support of UCT’s evaluation applications and funding proposals to the National Research Foundation; the servicing of UCT research funding and strategic committees (such as the University Research Committee and its sub-committees); and statutory reporting requirements to government such as submission of research output data to the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Manager: Research Support
Ms Natalie le Roux
Senior Coordinator: Research Support
Tel: 021 650 2432
Ms Roshan Sonday
Coordinator: Research Services
Tel: 021 650 2426
Mr Mbasa Mguye
Coordinator: Research Services
Tel: 021 650 7925
 Ms Ronel de Swardt
Coordinator: Research Services
Tel: 021 650 2892
 Ms Jacky Sylvester
Senior Officer: Research Support
Tel: 021 650 2689
 Mr Paul Dantu
Senior Officer: Research Support
Tel: 021 650 1954
 Ms Robyn Udemans
Senior Officer: Research Support
Tel: 021 650 1924
 Ms Janine Ramandh
Administrative Assistant
Tel: 021 650 1953

Postgraduate Studies and Researcher Development

The researcher development unit supports the development of research capacity through seminars, workshops, one-on-one consultations and some research funding. Recognising that academics can have very different research backgrounds, we aim to help them achieve their individual research potential. We support academics to reach key research milestones – their PhDs, publications, successful postgraduate supervisions and winning grant proposals, among others; throughout, we are mindful of their responsibility towards broader society through engaged scholarship.

Professor Peter Meissner Prof. Peter Meissner
Tel: 021 650 3171
Dr Dheshnie Keswell
Co-ordinator: Researcher Development (Science Stream)
Tel: 021 650 5984
Ms Dumisa Dlodlo
Senior Officer: Postgraduate Development
Tel: 021 650 3835
Dr Mignonne Breier
Research Development Specialist:
Tel: 021 650 5109
Dr Gaelle Ramon Dr Gaelle Ramon
Manager: Research Development
Tel: 021 650 2431
 Dr Charles Masango
Coordinator: Research Development (Social Sciences Stream)
Tel: 021 650 5128
 Mr Thando Mgqolozana
Senior Officer: Research Development
Tel: 021 650 4153
 Ms Judith Rix
Administrative Assistant: Research Development
Tel: 021 650 5152
 Mr Sonwabo Ngcelwane
Coordinator: Researcher Development (Engaged Scholarship)
Tel: 021 650 2103
 Ms Barbara Schmid
Project Manager: Knowledge Co-op
Tel: 021 650 4415

Research Systems

The research systems unit ensures that innovative, ICT-based management and information systems – aligned with UCT’s Research Strategy – are implemented to support the UCT research community. The systems manager is tasked with working across a range of professional staff departments that support research (Research Office, Postgraduate Studies, International Academic Programmes Office and Research Contracts & Innovation) to ensure integration with other ICT systems, provide business systems leadership for current and possible future research and student mobility requirements, and provide overall management and support coordination of these systems.

Kimi Keith Ms Kimi Keith
Systems Manager
Tel: 021 650 5744