The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) recently released the University’s report detailing the overall 2020 research publications output units accrued by the University of Pretoria (UP). The report shows a per capita improvement in overall research publication outputs subsidy from 1.68 in 2019 to 1.74 in 2020, with the per capita output calculated as a division of the total publication subsidy units by the headcount of the permanently employed instructional and research staff at the University.
UP’s qualifying research outputs are submitted to the DHET for review and subsequent allocation of government subsidies to universities each year. This vital process has a direct influence on the amount of funding the University receives from the government.
The three available categories that are eligible for a subsidy from the DHET include articles in DHET-accredited journals, peer-reviewed books/chapters in books, and peer-reviewed published conference proceedings.
Overall, UP attained a total of 2156.25 units for published research outputs appearing in approved books, conference proceedings, journal articles, and innovations and creative outputs for 2020.
The total subsidy units awarded for all publication types increased by 39.17 units from the 2060.60 units awarded for 2019 publications to a total of 2099.77 units.
With regards to innovations, 21.11 units were awarded, and 35.37 were awarded for creative outputs.
The purpose of the DHET policies is to encourage research productivity by rewarding quality research outputs at public higher education institutions, where research is understood as original, systematic investigation undertaken in order to gain knowledge and understanding. It does not measure all outputs but instead aims to enhance productivity by recognising the major types of research outputs produced by universities.
UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe praised the commitment and hard work of UP academics, who have achieved this improvement on behalf of the University.
“Congratulations to my colleagues, our outstanding UP academics, for their impressive research productivity, and for making an important contribution to growing UP’s research output. This, in the face of very challenging circumstances amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud to acknowledge that, in addition to the encouraging statistics included in the report, the outcome of our steadily increasing transdisciplinary knowledge is evidenced in UP’s positive impact on society across many spheres. We must continue to strive to raise our productivity and the quality of all our research.
“This is in line with our recently released strategic plan to creatively reimagine the University over the next five years by, amongst other things, transforming research to engender a resilient, sustainable, future-focused university. It builds on the process we embarked on a few years ago to holistically reposition the University and its broader role in society, recognising the unique opportunity that transdisciplinary research approaches offer for universities to take the lead in devising strategies that we can collaboratively implement to achieve social equality and environmental sustainability.”
Professor Sunil Maharaj, UP’s Acting Vice-Principal for Research and Undergraduate Studies, said that the improvements detailed in the report are confirmation that UP is achieving its vision of being a leading, research-intensive university.
“Central to our research strategy is the commitment to pursue ‘research that matters’, that is, research that transforms lives and communities. This report, showing our improved research outputs, attests to how we are striving towards solving complex societal challenges through the creation of knowledge.”