Research

The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (NAS) is the largest of its kind in Africa. This diverse faculty is renowned for its expertise in forestry and agriculture, food systems, biotechnology, life sciences, and mathematical and statistical sciences.

Our broad range of disciplines allows us to tackle interdisciplinary societal problems by finding solutions to complex issues in modern society such as the sustainability of food production and food security and cures for poverty-related and infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis, HIV/ AIDS and Malaria. This is achieved through targeted research, and appropriate training focused on the latest technology and innovation.
 


 

The Faculty is the largest of its kind in Africa. This diverse Faculty is renowned for its expertise in forestry and agriculture, food systems, biotechnology as well as life sciences and mathematical and statistical sciences and our international rankings underline this.  

RANKINGS:
QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021:
Agriculture and Forestry – 101-150
Biological Sciences – 301-350 
Environmental Sciences – 301-350 
Mathematics - 401-450 (Domestic leader in Mathematics)
 
Essential Science Indicators (ESI) - Top 1% globally in:
- Agricultural Sciences
- Biology and Biochemistry
- Molecular Biology and Genetics
- Environment/Ecology
- Microbiology
- Plant and Animal Science
 
Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) Leiden Rankings: Number 1 in mathematics and computer science in South Africa 

University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP)
ranking in the field of Zoology (including Entomology) is currently 45th globally in the universities assessed (up from 50 in 2020 and 54 in 2019) and continue to be number 1 in Africa.

The strong research ethos of the Faculty is re-emphasised by the fact that more than 200 of our scientists are formally recognised by the National Research Foundation’s (NRF) peer evaluation system for the high quality and impact of their research, nationally and internationally. Many of our academics and researchers are internationally recognised as leaders in their respective fields. The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences boast eight NRF A-rated researchers: Prof Nigel Bennett, Prof Michael Bruford,  Prof Don Cowan, Prof Pedro Crous, Prof James RafteryProf Yves Van de PeerProf Brenda Wingfield and Prof Mike Wingfield.
 

Niche research focus areas in NAS:

AGRICULTURE: wide-ranging expertise in crop breeding, pre and post-harvest applications, crop pests and pathogens, animal breeding, animal welfare, agricultural economics and extension, food production, consumer adoption, sensory evaluation, African crops, food systems and food security. 

BIG DATA AND DATA SCIENCE: Bioinformatics and computational biology, mathematical modelling in bioengineering and biosciences

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES: Hazards modelling, environmental modelling, sustainable environmental management  and biodiversity conservation 

INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Human (Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria) and veterinary diseases (ticks and tick-borne diseases, rabies, Helminths, African Horse sickness, bluetongue disease, etc)

PHYSICAL SCIENCES: Radio astronomy, biophysics, green chemistry, drug discovery, separation science, renewable energy

TRADITIONAL MEDICINES AND NATURAL PRODUCTS: Bioprospecting, medicinal plant science

PHYSICAL SCIENCES: Radio astronomy, biophysics, green chemistry, drug discovery, separation science, renewable energy

Published by Martie Meyer

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