n South African Journal of Higher Education - Challenges and successes of research capacity building at a rural South African university : part 1

Volume 29, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In the South African context, rural universities are labelled 'historically disadvantaged' and are faced with numerous challenges regarding research capacity development. It is against this background that this article examines the challenges faced at the University of Limpopo (UL), Sovenga, South Africa, in the area of research capacity building. UL adopted a multi-pronged approach to build research capacity. This approach involved increasing the number of accredited publications by staff; training supervisors; increasing the number of staff who have doctorates; providing support for female researchers;increasing awareness around funding opportunities; providing research support for postgraduate students and incentives for staff who publish and supervise postgraduate students. Data was obtained from research statistics compiled by the university, approved policy and incentive documents of the university, and evaluative and reflective feedback from participants in different support programmes. The data was analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The findings revealed that there has been an increase in UL's capacity building initiatives over the past four years, which is reflected in an increase in research output. The article recommends that institutional research capacity building be approached from a context-specific perspective.

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