27 October 2017 Volume :5 Issue :57

UKZN Ranked the Best for Physical and Chemical Sciences and Engineering

UKZN Ranked the Best for Physical and Chemical Sciences and Engineering
A Chemistry demonstration for high school learners in Pietermaritzburg in 2017.

The University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) for 2016-17 has ranked 16 South African universities amongst 2 500 Higher Education Institutions (HEI) across the world, and placed the University of KwaZulu-Natal at the top of the pile in the Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Chemical Engineering and Engineering field rankings for South Africa.

UKZN retained its same overall position based on previous rankings by URAP, and gained places in the field of Physical Sciences.

URAP is a non-profit organisation that seeks to develop a ranking system for universities worldwide based on academic performance determined by quality and quantity of scholarly publications. Two thousand HEI have been assessed annually since 2010, and are scored based on indicators that include current scientific productivity, research impact, research quality and international acceptance.

The School of Chemistry and Physics (SCP), said Dean and Head of School Professor Ross Robinson, has for several years used various international databases to review its ranking in order to assess how it is doing in terms of research both nationally and internationally. The Discipline of Chemistry, and more recently Physics, has been ranked nationally in the top position of all the tertiary institutions in South Africa, a position reaffirmed by the URAP rankings.

Robinson noted that strong contributions to this ranking have come from within the School of Chemistry and Physics, as well as significant contributions from researchers in other Schools.

Key research groups in the SCP include the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU), the Catalysis Research Group, the Centre for Quantum Technology, the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITheP) node, NanotechnologyAtmospheric Research (ATMRES) and others.

Robinson noted that the SCP boasts an outstandingly wide spectrum of research active staff particularly amongst younger staff members.

These rankings are based on both the quantity as well as the quality of our research, being conducted at UKZN, and as an institution we should be very proud of the achievements by our Staff,’ said Robinson.

Dean and Head of the School of Engineering, Professor Cristina Trois, expressed pleasure and pride at the ranking of Engineering at UKZN as the Top Institution for Engineering in South Africa, and noted that this ranking places UKZN among the top 200 faculties or schools of Engineering in the world.

The School has distinguished itself in a number of fields; it is the only School in the country to offer the Discipline of Bioresources (Agricultural) Engineering, and is home to the Eskom Centre of Excellence (CoE), the Thermodynamics Research Unit (TRU), internationally renowned Mechanical Engineering  projects, the Pollution Research GroupCivil Engineering research on environmental, coastal and hydrological engineering,  and a Land Surveying and Property Development qualification.

‘This is an incredible achievement for us and  a testimony of the untamed commitment, passion and dedication of all our staff, students and industry partners to the growth of our Discipline and our University,’ said Trois.

Words and photograph: Christine Cuénod

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