Unisa. picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ANA
THE University of Pretoria also celebrated a special birthday this year, turning 110 in February. On February 10, 1908, the Pretoria centre of the Transvaal University College (the TUC) first opened its doors. The college became the University of Pretoria in 1930.

From early beginnings UP has become a leader in research, one of its flagships being the Veterinary Faculty at Onderstepoort, the only such faculty in the country. Multi-disciplinary teams focus on different fields of research. Wildlife management, community engagement, teaching and learning all form part of this faculty which is situated north of Pretoria.

Economic and Management Sciences; Education; Engineering, the Built Environment and Information Technology; Health Sciences; Humanities; Law; Natural and Agricultural Sciences; Theology and the Business School have 120 academic departments and offer 1213 study programmes, 230 degrees, certificates and diplomas, 166 undergraduate programmes and 1047 post-graduate programmes, with more than 35 sporting codes.

It has awarded more than 365500 qualifications, while it has produced more than 267000 alumni, many of whom hold high-profile positions in business and in society.

The university also features in the top 40 universities in the BRICS region and the top three in South Africa, according to the QS University World Rankings 2018.

The university’s scope of activities does not only include formal teaching, learning and research, but also offers continuing education programmes, support in contract research and consulting, sport, commercialisation of research and venture fund investments. It is clear many of these activities are best pursued through a system of campus companies, rather than through the university itself. Very often a campus company is also an appropriate vehicle for co-operative ventures.

A structure for campus enterprises was established in 2000 to enable the university to position itself as a leader in the fields of contract research, training and consulting, thereby facilitating and enhancing its interaction with the private and public sector. In the process, additional income is generated for the university and its staff members.

Several campus companies have since been established to perform some of the university’s business functions and to act as instruments in managing the university’s interest in its alliances. Some are wholly owned by the university, such as those responsible for continuing education and consultation. Other companies are partly owned, such as those tasked with the commercialisation of intellectual property.

The campus companies support the university’s vision and mission and must adhere to the university’s quality requirements. The governance and management structures and delegations of these campus companies are aligned with those of the university.

The University of Pretoria has been home to some of Africa’s most significant leaders in research. We profile here our NRF-rated researchers and significant external awards, our young stars, and the profiles of the exceptional women in research at UP.

It is through the sustained individual and collective actions of our researchers that the University of Pretoria continues to strengthen its identity as a leading research-intensive university in Africa.

Each year the increasing number of National Research Foundation-rated researchers is evidence of the university’s commitment to attracting and retaining researchers of the highest distinction, as well as young researchers with the potential for research excellence.

The university’s annual recognition of exceptional academic achievers bears further testimony to the recognition of rising stars, and of women in research, in addition to the recognition of established researchers with well-recognised national and international profiles.