Prof Barend Erasmus (Dean)
The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP) is one of the largest and most diverse of its kind in South Africa. It consists of 13 departments grouped into the following four academic and research clusters: Agricultural and Food Sciences, Biological Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, and Physical Sciences.
The Faculty has substantial research capabilities, underpinned by a pool of excellent researchers, top-class research institutes and centres, and a well-established international collaboration network. The Faculty hosts 42% of the National Research Foundation-rated researchers at UP and more than half of the A-rated researchers and highly cited academics listed on Thomson Reuters’ Essential Science Indicators (ESI) database. It also generates 23% of accredited publication journal units at UP.
The undergraduate and postgraduate study programmes follow this legacy of research excellence by aligning with leading education and research trends.
The Faculty contributes to the intellectual and material enrichment of society through highly relevant community engagement projects.
Should you wish to excel and make a difference in the natural and agricultural sciences, this Faculty is where you belong and you will indeed be most welcome.
The Faculty will focus on the following activities to achieve the UP Strategic Plan 2025’s goal of becoming a more research-intensive university:
- strengthening the culture of excellence in research and increasing the number of citations by focussing on identified high-impact research fields and strategic areas in which the Faculty has proven capacity and expertise;
- pursuing excellence in teaching and learning through inquiry-led curricula in order to better equip students to proceed with postgraduate education and research;
- focussing on individuals and allowing them to take ownership of the University’s vision;
- retaining and developing human capital, as well as attracting and recruiting new champions of UP’s vision;
- committing to transformation in order to effect employment equity, diversity, and inclusivity;
- positioning the Faculty as a key role-player in the exciting initiatives ‘Future Africa’ and ‘Development of the Experimental Farm’; and
- emphasising the importance of communication, marketing and branding.
More about Prof Barend Erasmus
Prof Barend Erasmus has been appointed as the Dean in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (NAS) at the University of Pretoria (UP) from 1 October 2019.
Prior to his appointment as Dean, he was the Director of the Global Change Institute (GCI) at the University of the Witwatersrand, since 2014.
Prof Erasmus obtained the degrees PhD (Zoology), BScHons (Zoology) and BSc (Zoology) from the University of Pretoria. He has spent most of his working career at the University of the Witwatersrand. After a short postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Stellenbosch, he was appointed as a lecturer in the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences in 2003. He was subsequently promoted to professor and the Exxaro Chair in Global Change and Sustainability.
After a short postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Stellenbosch, he was appointed as a lecturer in the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences in 2003. He was subsequently promoted to professor and the Exxaro Chair in Global Change and Sustainability.
He has always had an interest in interdisciplinary work. His doctoral degree at the University of Pretoria was the first assessment of climate change impacts on biodiversity in South Africa, and the core paper from that study continues to be relevant in international literature.
Prof Erasmus’ research interests subsequently expanded from biodiversity and climate change impacts to a more systemic approach to long-term land cover change and sustainability in rural landscapes. He is passionate about postgraduate training, particularly within the context of collaborative and interdisciplinary research programmes.
He has co-authored several strategic documents on climate change, space science and global change for the national government and serves on advisory bodies for the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the National Business Initiative and the African Climate Leadership Programme. Together with colleagues from the Global Change Institute, he recently co-authored an international report, commissioned by the United Nations, on the state of global land degradation and restoration.