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The University of the WitwatersrandThe University of the WitwatersrandThe University of the Witwatersrand

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits) is one of the biggest (and top) Universities in South Africa. Wits has its roots in the South African School of Mines established in Kimberley in 1896 and transferred to Johannesburg in 1904. Full university status was granted in 1922. The South African legislation which regulates the governance of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg is the Higher Education Act (Act No 101 of 1997) and the University Statutes.

Wits has established itself at the industrial and commercial heart of South Africa, Gauteng Provin-ce, as a centre for education and research of the highest quality. Wits’ mission is to build on this foundation in a way that takes account of its responsibilities within South Africa today; and to maintain and enhance its position as a leading university in South Africa, in Africa, and in the World by sustaining globally competitive standards of excellence in learning, teaching and research.

At the end of 2014, the University was home to approximately 32516 students and about 1118 permanent and 517 temporary academic staff members.

Wits currently has five faculties (Humanities; Science; Health Sciences; Commerce, Law and Management; Engineering and the Built Environment) organised into 40 Schools. Linked to these, there are 9 recognised Research Thrusts, 13 Institutes, 16 Research Units and 4 Research Groups. In 2014, the University was home to 324 South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) -rated researchers of which 19 are A-rated scientists (NRF A-rated researchers are accepted by the international community as being amongst the leaders in their fields). In 2013 the University’s researchers produced 1650 publications in international journal databases, 20 complete books and 80 chapters as partial contribution to published books.

It is also important to highlight that Wits has participated in more than twenty (20) EU funded projects, drawn from EU R&D programmes such as FP6, FP7, EuropeAid, ACP, etc. Although it is not feasible to give a full list (and descriptions) of these projects in this document, this information is ‘readily’ available in our database and can be provided upon request. In 2009 (to 2011), Wits, though Wits Enterprise, had an opportunity to coordinate an EU-FP7 coordination and support Action (CSA) project entitled: “European - South African Research Cooperation in Aeronautics and Air Transport (AEROAFRICA-EU)”. The project included six (6) partners, drawn from Europe (4 organisations) and South Africa (2 organisations), and a total budget of approximately Euro 360,000.

The main Wits participants in the proposed project are members of the Wits Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry (CSMI) and the Wits Mining Research Institute (WMRI) both in the School of Mining Engineering; and School of Business and Economic Sciences (SEBS). WMIR is a 21st Century research institute established at Wits and aims to be home to Africa’s leaders leading multidisciplinary research in all technical, social, and economic aspects of mining. The CSMI is primarily involved in education, training, research and convening, each of which are focused on the three main themes in sustainability: Environmental Policy and Governance; Occupational Health and Safety; Socio-Economic Development. Wits has the necessary experience and capacity required to participate in the proposed project.

All the members of the Wits research team have been working on projects related to the proposed research topic for many years. The Wits Team Leader, Prof. Jourdan, currently an Adjunct Visiting Professor at the Wits SEBS, is a development “generalist” specialising in resource-based integrated spatial development strategies for Africa, and other related research areas. Wits Commercial Enterprise Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the University, will manage the project on behalf of Wits.

Although it is challenging to give a full description of the relevant Wits’ strength in this document, we have attempted to summarise what Wits can offer, by giving a broader perspective of the University’s capacity and depth of expertise. Additional Wits information directly related to the project is provided in the other sections of the Wits profile. Please also feel free to visit the University’s website: www.wits.ac.za or contact us for more information about the University’s research capacity.

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