Did you know?

The University Research Office is based at the Govan Mbeki building on Westville campus

The University of KwaZulu-Natal currently has more than 250 post-doctoral fellows

Funds requests must be directed through the Colleges at the office of the College Dean of Research

You can upload your own publications on IRMA and ResearchSpace

ResearchSpace is the institutional repository of UKZN. It is a collection of full text theses and also includes research publications produced by UKZN academics.
Research Focus Areas



Biotechnology is a broad multidisciplinary area which is defined by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity as “any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use”. Biotechnology has a range of applications in medicine, industry, agriculture, and the environment.


Agriculture and Food Security

Agriculture and food security remains a focus of UKZN’s broader research agend


with our scientists training African plant and animal breeders, in Africa, and sustaining the critical mass

of African expertise required to alleviate hunger on the continent.

Energy and Technology for Sustainable Development

This focus area is providing leading research for the needs of South Africa, in keeping with the mission of UKZN as the Premier University of African Scholarship. The energy sector is by far the largest contributor to global GDP and is the engine that drives the world’s economy. Humankind’s insatiable appetite for energy has meant that this sector influences all aspects of the economy and has direct and indirect bearing on the socioeconomic development of a country and its people.

Gender Race & Identity Studies

This focus area draws on multiple disciplines within the University, to examine the ways in which identities are constructed, created and consolidated. These disciplines draw on several frameworks for engaging with issues of race, and gender, among other social categories – like age, sexualities and class

HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Health Promotion


As the pre-eminent academic institution at the epicentre of the HIV epidemic in South Africa, UKZN has taken up the challenge of providing leadership in response to HIV and AIDS and Tuberculosis, and is undertaking ongoing research to enhance scientific capacity in these critical areas and strengthen the biomedical and broader societal response to the epidemic

Indigenous African Knowledge Syste


A Review conducted in 2009 by a team of external and internal experts on Indigenous African Knowledge Systems (IAKS) capacity at UKZN, revealed that the University has great capacity and potential in terms of active researchers and publications on IAKS in its various units. In-line with the institutional vision “to be a Premier University of African Scholarship” and promoting Africa-led globalisation, UKZN has identified IAKS as a strategic focus area for research, teaching and community engagement. Taking into consideration the holistic and multi-disciplinarynature of IAKS, the scope of research undertaken in the field isquite comprehensive 

Maritime Studies

The primary research focus  in this area is Marine Science and Coastal Engineering, the secondary being Climate change– prediction models, adaption strategies, Air quality analysis and modelling in urban areas, Analysis and design of renewable energy systems – wave, wind, currents; Analysis and mitigation of natural hazards – floods, droughts, dispersion of toxic gases; Catchment management - erosion / sediment yield, soil moisture mapping, remote sensing, modeling; Management of urban water reticulation networks and storm water systems.


Social Development and Economic Studies

 The primary objective of this area of research is to strengthen and enhance applied and policy relevant research in the fields of Economic Development, Finance, Sociology, Development Studies,  Economic History, Agri-Business, Cultural and Heritage Tourism, and Health Economics.

Water, Environment  and Biodiversity

UKZN’s strength in the area of water, environment and biodiversity is based on innovative and cutting-edge disciplinary science and is evident in its internationally recognised researchers with active research programmes and postgraduate students in related fields, and several ongoing research projects supported by local and international funders. The research is centered on improving the understanding and functioning of the natural environment, biological and man-made environmental resources, their sensitivity to human influences and the development of tools through which this knowledge can be applied for effective environmental resources management and planning.


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