About UKZN

About The University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

The University of KwaZulu-Natal was formed
on 1 January 2004 as a result of a merger
between the former Universities of DurbanWestville
and Natal. The new institution brings
together the academic expertise and research
capacity of two major regional universities and is at
the forefront of higher educational transformation
in South Africa. 

The University is home to the region’s
leading academics and has an impressive
number of internationally acclaimed scientists
and researchers among its staff, as rated by the
National Research Foundation. The full spectrum
of research is supported, from curiosity-driven
to application-based and participatory action
research with community partners. Research is
conducted by, and in association with, members
of the academic staff, associated research units,
industry, business, government, local communities
and international institutions and agencies.
UKZN’s vision is to be the ‘Premier University
of African Scholarship’. 

It strives to reflect the
society in which it is situated, not only in terms
of race, gender and class, but in how it structures
its values and priorities and how it responds,
through its research, to social needs. KwaZuluNatal
provides fertile soil for researchers and
the University’s mission commits the institution
to critical engagement with its society and
encourages practical research that will lead to
socio-economic upliftment of communities. 

This outcomes-driven approach has led to the
establishment of inter-disciplinary ‘centres of
excellence’ devoted to particular projects and
often involving collaboration with institutions
from around the world.
Research and postgraduate training
programmes are directed in the following
research focus areas, which have been
identified on the basis of institutional proven strengths and strategic objectives: Agriculture
and Food Security; Biotechnology; Energy and
Technology for Sustainable Development;
Gender, Race and Identity; HIV/Aids, TB and
Health promotion; Indigenous African Knowledge
Systems; Maritime Studies; Social Development
and Economic Studies; Water Environment and
The University has formal and informal ties, as
well as having established exchange programmes
with more than 260 leading universities around
the world. At present, 20% of the total student
registrations are in postgraduate studies. 

Research Office, headed by the Deputy ViceChancellor
Research, is responsible for the
management and nurturing of knowledge
production and dissemination, through
partnerships, and places strong emphasis on
collaborative research. The Division also assists
staff and postgraduate students with grant
applications, contracts, intellectual property
rights and related administrative matters, as both
a return as well as a return capacity development.
Senior academics take pride in the
mentorship provided to graduate students,
encouraging them to develop their skills in
critical appraisal and independent thought.
The University provides a vibrant
environment for basic and applied research, and
offering internationally recognised postgraduate
research degrees in all disciplines. 

Research innovation is a cornerstone of the
new University and as an institution of higher
learning, research excellence is recognised and
supported as part of its essential identity. The
University is committed to growing its existing
research capacity further and leading the bid to
bring South African and African scholarship to the
attention of the international community. 

At the
same time, we recognise that excellence in research
and knowledge production should lead to practical
interventions in national development strategies,
and should be directed to the upliftment of poor
and under-developed communities.
Postgraduate students at the University have
the opportunity to contribute towards these

The University’s strategic priorities
are informed by both national and international
needs and opportunities and provide considerable
scope for cutting-edge research.
“Research innovation is the cornerstone
of the University and as an institute of higher
learning, research excellence is recognised and
supported as part of its essential identity.”

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