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Strategic initiatives

Strategic initiatives

Four institution-wide, interdisciplinary initiatives have been introduced by the Vice-Chancellor to address critical national social challenges. These are UCT's Strategic Initiatives.


Climate and development

African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI)

South Africa, with the rest of the African continent, has an imperative to improve human wellbeing, but within the constraints of the need for low-carbon development and mounting impacts of climate variability and change. The ACDI has been formed to engage with these challenges through interdisciplinary, innovative research and teaching that draws on intellectual capital across a wide range of disciplines at UCT. Its vision is an interdisciplinary research hub that brings together academics with non-governmental organisations, business and government in a knowledge factory that co-produces and tests new insights, evidence and innovations that will help to solve Africa's climate and development challenges. Visit website


Poverty and Inequality Initiative (PII)

The Poverty and Inequality Initiative (PII) tackles the question of why, in a country of rich resources, poverty and inequality are persisting and even, in the case of inequality, deepening. PII comprises high-profile members from diverse disciplines, and aims to identify all major role players inside and outside the university, including academics, research groups, government and NGOs who are working in poverty alleviation, whether in policy or intervention. In addition, the PII plays a leading role in the Carnegie national inquiry into strategies to overcome poverty and inequality. The PII initiaties work on cross-cutting themes that have been identified as key issues in tackling the twin challenges of poverty and inequality through focused research, broad engagement and collaboration within and beyond the university environment. Visit website.

Safety and violence

Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI)

The Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI) comprises a core group of researchers with a mandate to focus on understanding and intervening in the promotion of safety and reduction of violence (in particular criminal violence) in South Africa. Its vision is to work towards a safe South Africa, where freedom and security are the norm, rather than the exception. A key feature of SaVI's role is to develop theory and translate this into practice. We facilitate socially responsive research across a number of different scales (individual, household, neighbourhood, city, national and global). We are developing a 'critical mass' of researchers capable of carrying out collective, sustained research projects across disciplinary boundaries, and through this synergy providing 'real world' solutions to the problems. Visit website.

Schools Improvement Initiative (SII)

The Schools Improvement Initiative (SII) is a direct response to the education crisis in South Africa, which not only has negative implications for the country as a whole but poses serious challenges for tertiary education. The underachievement of learners, in particular in township schools around Cape Town, has resulted in relatively small numbers of black students from these disadvantaged areas qualifying for entrance to UCT. The SII was therefore formed to harness the university's broader resources to foster meaningful partnerships with education-related groupings, both within and outside of UCT. At the outset, the SII focused on Khayelitsha as a distinct geographic area. However, the intention is to expand the initiative to create partnerships involving a broad range of groups, organisations, institutions and individuals to assist government in improving the quality of education in South Africa. Visit website