Research and Innovation

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Directorate of Research and Innovation                                                    

The Directorate of Research Development and Innovation (DRI) is the capacity-building hub for research, postgraduate studies and innovation at WSU. It is located in the Division of Academic Affairs and Research. 

It provides policy, strategic and operational support to the University in the core mandate area of research, postgraduate studies and innovation capacity development. Most of the Directorate’s activities are carried out in coordination with faculties and research entities. 

DRI is an important gateway for researchers, postgraduate students, innovators and WSU entrepreneurs seeking funding, administrative and logistical support for their studies or research and innovation projects.

The Directorate is headed by a Senior Director: Research and Innovation, who reports to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic Affairs and Research. 

It administers the University’s research and innovation capacity development budget, and interacts with national and international research funding, standards-setting, regulatory, and policy institutions to grow the University’s research and innovation footprint in a sustainable and impactful way. 

Among these institutions are the National Research Foundation (NRF), Department Higher Education and Training (DHET), Medical Research Council (MRC), National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) and Water Research Commission (WRC). 

The Directorate is a member of the Southern Africa Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA), and works closely with the Technological Higher Education Network (THENSA) – formerly the South African Technology Network (SATN) - of which the University is a member.

DRI’s programme philosophy foregrounds research and innovation excellence, relevance and impact. Currently, the Directorate drives initiatives aimed at repositioning the University as an innovation-focused, research-active institution whose work shapes futures and changes lives, as the University’s motto says - from the remotest rural Eastern Cape villages to far-flung global commercial and industrial centres. 

Currently, new streams of funding are being sourced and availed to boost support for Applied Research Niche Area (RNA) development, empower emerging academics to become published scholars, orient Master’s and Doctoral students to social justice leadership as well as entrepreneurial values, and create postgraduate pipeline development initiative through which larger numbers of honours students enrol for Master’s programmes and Master’s candidates become doctoral degree candidates.

The Directorate currently comprises a Research Office Central, a Technology Transfer Office, and a Postgraduate Studies Unit. It has a presence in each of the University’s four campuses while the Institutional Office is situated at the Mthatha Campus.

What We Do

DRI is strategically positioned to support research development-related activities undertaken by academics, researchers, postgraduate students and Postdoctoral Research Fellows across the four campuses of WSU.

It offers an array of services to the community it serves. It is responsible for the administration of research grants, research outputs, conference attendance, research ethics, and Postdoctoral Research Fellowship portfolios, to mention only a few.

Capacity-building and training of WSU academics and postgraduate students across all four campuses is also part of the core business of the Directorate.

DRI administers the University's research and innovation capacity development budget and interacts with national and international research funding institutions.