Robert Dempster
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Surprise, Surprise!!
The University of Cape Town
still tops the 2014
National Research Foundation Researcher Ratings Log.

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National Research Foundation Researcher Ratings

The table below lists the number of rated researchers at South African Universities as determined by the National Research Foundation (NRF) on 4 Feb 2014. The list is ordered using the ”Total” column. Columns ”A” through ”F” represent the researcher categories that make up that total and they are: ”Leading international researcher”, ”Internationally acclaimed researcher”, ”Established researcher”, ”NRF Prestigious Award”, ”Promising young researcher” and ”Late entrant into research” respectively.

Institution Total A B C D E F
University of Cape Town 445 33 150 185 0 69 2
University of Pretoria 368 11 70 227 0 55 3
Stellenbosch University 344 13 93 176 0 58 1
University of the Witwatersrand 288 15 78 137 0 54 2
University of KwaZulu-Natal 232 6 39 151 0 34 2
North-West University 170 3 17 119 0 27 2
University of South Africa 141 2 13 106 0 19 1
University of Johannesburg 133 6 28 73 0 25 0
University of the Free State 116 0 12 92 0 11 1
University of the Western Cape 105 1 25 66 0 12 1
Rhodes University 72 2 16 41 0 13 0
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University 68 2 5 56 0 5 0
Tshwane University of Technology 43 0 2 36 0 4 1
Cape Peninsula University of Technology 26 0 1 16 0 8 1
University of Fort Hare 22 0 1 16 0 5 0
University of Venda 17 0 1 10 0 6 0
University of Zululand 15 0 0 14 0 1 0
Durban University of Technology 12 0 1 11 0 0 0
University of Limpopo 11 0 0 8 0 3 0
Vaal University of Technology 7 0 0 5 0 2 0
Walter Sisulu University 7 0 0 4 0 2 1
Monash South Africa 3 0 0 0 0 3 0
University of Limpopo (Medunsa Campus) 2 0 0 1 0 1 0

Comments

  1. The University of Cape Town is still the most productive university and continues to lead the rest by a considerable margin.

  2. It would be interesting to produce a similar table reflecting the the total for each university normalised in terms of the corresponding university's academic staff complement. Such a table would surely provide a better indication as to how productive the academic staff are at each of these universities in terms of research. As the staffing data for these universities generally remains difficult to obtain within the public domain, this exercise has not been attempted this year.

  3. It would also be interesting to determine what I would call the Undergraduate Conversion Rate (ACR) i.e., the number of students graduating in any given year, divided by the number of students who enrolled n years ago, where n is the number of full time years of study required to complete the corresponding student's degree. It would also be interesting to determine the correlation between the ACR and the normalised NRF ranking totals. As the ACRs are probably even more difficult to obtain than the academic staffing figures, this has also not been attempted this time round.

  4. Again, it would also be interesting to determine what I would call the Provincial Higher Education Distribution (PHED, pronounced FED) i.e., the number of Rated Researchers per Province. This would provide a first approximation as to what school leavers can expect in terms of quality tertiary education should they wish to remain in the province in which they matriculate.

  5. Once again, it would also be interesting to determine what I would call the Normalised Provincial Higher Education Distribution (NPHED, pronounced NoPHED) i.e., the number of Rated Researchers per Province, each divide by the population of the corresponding province. This would provide a second (much better) approximation as to what school leavers can expect in terms of quality tertiary education should they wish to remain in the province in which they matriculate. Please note that the NoPHED values have all been multiplied by one million (1000000) in order to make the comparison process easier.

    Province Population Rated Researchers NoPHED
    Western Cape 6016900 920 152.9
    Gauteng 12728400 839 65.9
    North West 3597600 170 47.3
    Free State 2753200 122 44.3
    Eastern Cape 6620100 169 25.5
    KwaZulu-Natal 10456900 261 25.0
    Limpopo 5518000 28 5.07
    Northern Cape 1162900 0 0
    Mpumalanga 4128000 0 0

    The NoPhED figures in the table shown above speak for themselves. I am sure that most South Africans would accept that this appalling situation is a legacy inherited from the Apartheid Government. More to the point would be why this situation has been allowed to persist. Is it possible that the mergers that took place in the New South Africa not only perpetuated this situation, some of them actually made it worse. I would argue that this is certainly the case for KwaZulu-Natal.

  6. All of the above could of course be reexamined in terms of university equity profiles and something like this was attempted by Kesh S Govinder et.al. [2013]

Notes

  1. The figures mostly speak for themselves. Last year (2013) I attempted to normalise the raw totals in terms of the respective university student enrolments. This adjustment significantly improved the performance of Rhodes University and would probably do the same for 2014. The results for 2013 can be seen here.

  2. I would very much like to do a similar analyses for Research Publications, but have not been able to find the required data in a suitable format in the public domain. If anyone can direct me to this data, I would be much obliged and would also immediately make use of that data to produce the normalised results.

  3. The figures for 2012 were dealt with in greater detail in a mock academic paper entitled, "How does the University of KwaZulu-Natal rate?". A link to the mock paper can be found in Blog 21

Links referenced

  1. National Research Foundation Rated Researchers (link to a PDF file) [2014]

  2. A new look at demographic transformation for universities in South Africa ; (link to a PDF file) Kesh S Govinder, Nombuso P Zondo and Malegapuru W Makgoba ; South African Journal of Science ; [2013]

  3. SouthAfrica.info ; Education

  4. Wikipedia ; List of universities in South Africa

  5. South African Government Online - About SA ; Education

  6. Higher Education South Africa (HESA) ; South Africam Universities


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