Research flagship projects

The University of South Africa (Unisa) is Africa’s leading open distance and e-learning university. The university’s three core business areas are teaching, research and community engagement. The Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation portfolio oversees and supports the research and postgraduate activities in the institution.

Unisa’s research and its researchers are positioned in its eight colleges and 11 institutes. The support provided by the Research Administration Department serves as an enabler for researchers to ensure that we not only achieve our research output targets, but also excel in our research niche areas. Each research entity (college, institute and bureau) has a range of research focus areas. These areas create research spaces for our master’s and doctoral students, and allow our academics to specialise.

Despite wide ranges of research focus areas in the various subject fields in the colleges and schools, each research entity also proudly focuses on a more defined collection of research specialisations, most often referred to as research flagships or research pockets of excellence. Typically, these research specialisations are grounded in the overall strategic intent of the research entity and driven centrally from the offices of the executive deans or heads of research institutes.

The purpose of this document is to highlight the research flagships in the research entities. These flagships are presented as potential areas for collaboration and joint research initiatives. Ultimately, Unisa’s research falls into one or more of the following five research niche areas:

  1. Knowledge generation and human capital development in response to the needs of South Africa and the African continent
  2. The promotion of democracy, human rights and responsible citizenship
  3. Innovation and capacity building in science and technology
  4. Economic and environmental sustainability
  5. Open distance learning