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04 May 2012 01:19
Stellenbosch rector Professor Russel Botman. (Werner Roux)
Stellenbosch University has met a R1.7-billion funding target it set less than two years ago, the institution announced recently.
“Not only have we surpassed our ambitious financial target of R1.75-billion, but through the science-for-society approach of our Hope Project we are making a real difference to people’s lives,” said Professor Russel Botman, the university’s rector.
Stellenbosch launched its Hope Project in July 2010 and Botman described its aim in his Mail & Guardian article “A hope for Africa” (July 30 2010).
The project encompasses South Africa’s “most pressing needs, whether it is a renewable energy supply for the region, food security in Southern Africa, conflict resolution and leadership, or rural healthcare and development”, Botman wrote.
Brain drain In general, the research output from universities in Africa was too low because the continent had “lost thousands of its highly skilled people who left to look for new opportunities for further study or work elsewhere in the world”, Botman said, a decades-long brain drain Stellenbosch as a whole and the Hope Project in particular were aiming to address.
At the university’s Cape Town conference, Botman said: “As a result of the academic success of the Hope Project and the growing prominence of our university as a thought leader and Africa’s leading producer of research, Stellenbosch University is now a world player from Africa and a global partner of choice.
“Our future levels of excellence will be determined by our approach to learning and living space as well as by the entire academic experience and campus culture.”
The university made it into three global rankings last year — the QS and the Times Higher Education world university rankings and the Leiden Ranking.
Said Botman: “We are rapidly moving from success to significance, but if we are to sustain this renewal and innovation we have to take up a new quantum challenge that will require a multibillion-rand investment.”
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