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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.
Maritime Studies

Marine Science and Coastal Engineering
UKZN research in Coastal Engineering is led by Professor Derek Stretch, who is the eThekwini Municipality Chair in Civil Engineering and Professor of Hydraulics and Environmental Fluid Mechanics at the School of Civil Engineering.

The Metro, UKZN and TU Delft (TUD) in Holland, one of the top 20 universities in the world, recently agreed to collaborate on research in Coastal Engineering.

TUD are partners in Professor Stretch’s SANPAD-funded research projects at St Lucia estuarine lake and a group of 10 Dutch post-graduate students visited UKZN recently to take part in the ongoing work.

One of the most significant aspects of Professor Stretch’s research, and that of his postgraduate students, is his unique and innovative collaboration with Biological and Conservation Sciences. This partnership sees engineers working hand-in-hand with biologists on the ecosystem functioning of Lake St Lucia, one of the world’s critically important estuarine systems which is part of the iSimangaliso world heritage site.

Since 2004, Stretch has been working with Professor Renzo Perissinotto from the School of Biological and Conservation Sciences on developing an integrated biophysical model for the entire estuarine system. Recent funding from SANPAD, WWF and the NRF will ensure that this work continues for at least another three years.
Overall the group’s research suggests that the artificial separation of the St Lucia and Mfolozi inlets is by far the most significant anthropogenic impact on the functioning of the lake and that its reversal is key to sustainability of the system. Ongoing research aims to guide future management strategies to best achieve this.

The primary research focus aims to achieve significant scientific advances in the analysis and modelling of human impacts on productive aquatic ecosystems, including threatened estuarine systems – addressing issues of sustainability, increasing pollution, flow reductions, and widespread degeneration of the functioning of these critical ecosystems. The main innovation targeted in the research is the effective integration of physical dynamics with ecosystem responses in a way that is appropriate for encapsulating understanding of their functioning into predictive models for application to sustainable management.

Overall, the scientific importance of the activities of the research group is embedded in its focus on developing new insights and understanding of the structure, functioning and sustainable management of critical productive hydro-ecosystems.

Secondary research focus areas are:
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, modelling.
Management of urban water reticulation networks and storm water systems.

The group uses theoretical, computational and field-based research techniques to develop insight and understanding of flows in the natural environment. They work as a multidisciplinary teamusing an integrated approach to understanding and modelling physical and biological systems.

Professor Stretch said their Coastal Engineering collaboration with the eThekwini Municipality was developing rapidly. He currently has three PhD students working on the project in addition to several MSc students at the metro conducting research on aspects of water infrastructure.

Maritime Initiative
The Maritime Initiative has been identified as a potential Research Focus Area for UKZN, based on historical activities in this area as well as the University’s geographic position on the South African East Coast.

There are existing Masters level qualifications as well as undergraduate and Honours qualifications in Science and Agriculture (Biological Sciences) with a range of modules offered across the various Faculties.

Clear opportunities for closer collaboration, and especially for interdisciplinary PhD study and the Maritime Initiative in this area has been identified.

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