Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies

University of Venda

Research Support

Humbulani Nemudzudzanyi

Executive Secretary: Research and Innovation

Tel: +27 15 962 8313
Fax: 086 516 6651

Ms Vanecia Khoza

Research Administration Assistant

Tel: +27 15 962 9058

Research Forms

About Us


Prof Nosisi Nellie Feza – DVC: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies

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.
Director's Profile

Professor Jabulani Makhubele

Professor Jabulani Makhubele currently holds the esteemed position of Director – Research and Innovation at the University of Venda in Thohoyandou, Republic of South Africa. With an impressive career spanning over several institutions, he previously served as a Professor and Head of Department at the University of Limpopo in the Department of Social Work, dedicating 14 years to his role. Prior to this, he also had a brief tenure at North West University.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Professor Makhubele has made significant contributions in the realm of government. He served as a provincial manager in the Free State Provincial Government’s Department of Social Development, overseeing Substance Abuse Services and Youth Development Programmes. Furthermore, he held the position of Principal Social Worker in the Department of Correctional Services.

Within academia, Professor Makhubele has demonstrated his commitment to nurturing the next generation of scholars. He has successfully supervised the research of more than 37 Master of Social Work (MSW) students and 17 PhD candidates. His dedication to knowledge dissemination is evident through his extensive publication record, which includes over 80 articles in accredited and refereed journals, as well as the editing of a book and the authorship of more than 5 book chapters.

Professor Makhubele’s research interests encompass a wide range of critical areas, including Public Health Social Work issues such as substance abuse, Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), climate change, and migration studies. His expertise has led to fruitful collaborations and projects both domestically and internationally, with notable partnerships in Namibia, Finland, and Sweden. Notably, Professor Makhubele has been entrusted with the responsibility of conducting commissioned studies.

One such example is his leadership of a team investigating substance use, misuse, and abuse among the youth in Limpopo province, funded by the Department of Social Development’s Research and Population Unit. Additionally, he played a pivotal role in the development and implementation of the highly acclaimed Offender Treatment Programme, which has been successfully adopted nationwide by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).

In addition to his significant contributions in the field, Professor Makhubele serves as an esteemed external examiner for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies at renowned institutions, both locally and internationally. These include  universities such as Wits, University of Johannesburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal, North West University, University of Cape Town, University of Namibia, and University of Zimbabwe, among others. Recognized for his exceptional research prowess, Professor Makhubele holds the esteemed C3 NRF Rating and was honoured as the Overall Best Researcher at the University of Limpopo in 2021.

Research Niche Areas
  • African Heritage
  • Earth systems and the environment
  • Sustainable rural and regional development
  • Human and animal health
  • Law and Education
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 (Convener)
  • 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 funding partners (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.


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