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About the Research and Innovation Department


The research and development Directorate was established in 2000. This was followed by the development of the Research and Development Policy in 2001 which was amended in 2005. The implementation of the research policy has been able to establish a small critical mass of researchers who are participating in research in various disciplines. The University has internal funding for research projects, conference attendance and to defray publication costs.Some of our researchers manage externally funded research projects and others do consultancy work for Local / Provincial government departments and other stakeholders. The university has research collaborations with many research institutions nationally and internationally.

The University has currently eight research niche areas. It also provides funding for research projects in non-niche areas and supports its researchers and post graduate students to attend international conferences. The university introduced in 2008 a recognition and award system to incentivize active researchers.

Research Linkages, Collaboration and Partnerships

Univen supports research linkages and partnerships. Univen has linkages and collaborations with other Universities nationally and internationally and also partners with other entities such as government departments, NGO’s, private sector and industry. Strong research partnership exists currently with the Limpopo provincial Government through the Limpopo Research Forum and the Limpopo Integrated Innovation Forum which bring together managers of research and developers of technologies in the Provincial tertiary institutions, Provincial government departments, private sector, NGOs and industry. The fora look into various aspects that will avoid duplication and promote excellent multidisciplinary research and innovation in the province.

Financial sustainability

Univen receives research grants from various national and international bodies: research has been funded by various government departments and foundations/science councils/units. International support has been received from a number of organizations/commissions in various countries such as, Australia, USA, Netherlands, Norway and the European Commission.

University of Venda funds research projects, attendance of international conference as well as meeting publication costs of journal papers in DoHET accredited journals.

Vision and Mission

The vision and mission of the Research and Innovation Directorate of the University of Venda are guided by the new Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997) which identifies research as one of the core functions of any tertiary institution.

The Vision is "Elevating basic and applied research to excellence at the University of Venda".

Our Mission is to be the engine that drives critical, innovative and relevant research for the pursuit of knowledge and for development of local, national and regional communities.

This articulation of our vision and mission enables us to stress:

  • The importance of both basic and applied research at the university;
  • The importance of knowledge and development of local, national and regional communities through collaborative research.
  • The need to develop future researchers through emphasizing research and innovation at Postgraduate level.

Organizational Structure

Organizational Structure

The overall management and promotion of research at the University of Venda is the responsibility of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic . He or she discharges this responsibility through the Director of Research and Innovation, the school Deans and the Research and Publication Committee, which is a committee of Senate.

Notes on the Structure: Membership of Committees

Senate’s Research and Publications Committee

  • Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic: Chairperson
  • Deputy Registrar
  • Director of Research and Innovation
  • Director of Library Services
  • Deans
  • One Representative per school at the level of Senior Lecturer or Professor

School's Research and Publications Committee

  • Dean (Convenor)
  • Two Representatives of the School Executive Board
  • Two Senior Lecturers
  • Two Professors
  • One Lecturer
  • One Junior lecturer

The current administrative structure of the Research and Innovation Directorate is as follows The Director reports to the DVC Academic and is supported by the Research Administrator and Executive Secretary. The Directorate of Research and Innovation is responsible for the administrative function for all research related matters: capacity building, research output, collaboration /partnerships and resource mobilization.

In order to facilitate support and ensure a quality standard in research the Directorate is supported by the following Committees:

  • University Research and Publications Committee (RPC)
  • School Research and Publications Committees
  • School Higher Degrees Committees
  • Community Engagement Committee
  • Centre for Rural development and Poverty Alleviation

The Directorate is a unit within the Academic division along with community engagement directorate, Library services, Schools and Center for Higher Education Teaching and Learning. This arrangement facilitates coherence in the implementation of the core business of the University.

Furthermore, the director is a member of all Senate committees. The directorate is responsible for the implementation of research and innovation policy, for resource allocation and to assist and support researchers with external resource mobilization. The Director is responsible for strategic issues such as focusing more on policy and advocacy, interact with high level policy makers and government officials /stakeholders, be ambassador and stimulate information flow between Univen researchers and research partners and funders (provincially, nationally and internationally). The administrative structure for the directorate will be strengthened to fulfill functions for postgraduate research support, project writing technical expertise for various organizations, research linkages and provision of information, and other support that researchers need.

University of Venda Research Niche Areas

The University of Venda in 2007 identified the main research focus area as “Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Rural Development”. From its outset Univen has focused on serving the rural community and SADC region. It has broadened its activity by adopting a broad strategy and new niche areas listed below:

  • "Developing and Managing Farming and Agro forestry System for Improved Livelihood and Food Security in Rural Communities".
  • "Integrated Environmental Management, Settlement and Energy for Sustainable Development".
  • "Combating Poverty and Illiteracy and Promotion of Gender Equality and Socio Economic Rights".
  • "Indigenous Knowledge System".
  • "Socio-Economic and Health Related Aspects of HIV and AIDS".
  • "Water Research for Improved Quality of Life."
  • "Investigating Maternal, Child, Youth and Women Health, Investing in Youth and Reversing the Trends."
  • "Entrepreneurship, Micro-finance, Innovation and Management of Human, financial and Heritage Resources to Bridge the gap between the First and Second Economy in South Africa".

Keeping in mind the country’s social and developmental imperatives, multidisciplinary research will be aligned to our vision of elevating basic and applied research to excellence at the University of Venda and our mission of being the engine that drives critical innovative and relevant research for the pursuit of knowledge and for development of local, national and international communities. This will be made possible through our targeted niche areas as well as our policy on research linkages, collaboration and partnerships.

Research and Publication Committee Members