Research Overview

The Faculty of Science & Agriculture enjoys a pre-eminent position amongst South African universities as a Faculty with a sustained record of high quality research. As the top ranked facuty, University of Fort Hare provides an intellectual home for  international scholars, many of whom are located in the Science & Agriculture Faculty.

The Faculty of Agriculture founded ARDRI in 1977, with the aim of researching the needs of rural people and communities in South Africa. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life of rural and peri-urban people by generating social, economic and technical information relating to livelihood systems and support services with a focus on agriculture; by disseminating this information, and by facilitating change based on this information.

ARDRI is managed by a Director and has a Secretary/Administrator. A variable number of contract and temporary staff handle research and outreach activities. Running costs are funded by means of entering into research contracts with a variety of governmental and non-governmental institutions.

ARDRI is recognised as an important generator of information on small-scale agriculture in the Eastern Cape. As a result, ARDRI is considered a valuable partner by agents active in agriculture and rural development, and gets regular requests to participate in related projects.

The aim of the AGRIPARK is to assist the communities surrounding Fort Hare to become active partners in agribusiness by forming themselves into Cooperatives. Examples are the Nursery, vegetable production, vegetable processing, the Nguni Project, the multi million rand Dairy Project, fish farming, bee farming, etc.

The name “Agripark” may be interpreted as an agribusiness village where thriving partnerships are developed, e.g. the Nursery producing seedlings and selling them to the vegetable growers who, in their turn, then sell to the processing cooperative.

The French South African Agricultural Institute (F’SAGRI) was set up in 2015 through an agreement between the governments of France and South Africa. The main purpose of the initiative was to bring French expertise to help establish capacity in Agriculture to historically disadvantaged universities of South Africa, in particular the University of Fort Hare, the University of Limpopo, and the University of Venda. Originally focusing on Food Sciences, the Initiative has now broadened its scope to cover the full portfolio of thematic related to Agriculture and defined the activities to be carried out to achieve its goals in terms of capacity building:

  • Supporting the universities in developing new curricula,
  • Promoting the mobility of students and lecturers between both countries,
  • Developing joint research programmes between French and South African institutions,
  • Supporting the universities in their community engagement,
  • Promoting and supporting innovation.

For more information, contact Prof A Maiwashe, F’SAGRI Director, GM: Animal Production; or 012 672 9028

The Telkom Centre of Excellence in Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICTD) is a research unit hosted within the the Department of Computer Science at the University of Fort Hare. The Centre is funded by Industry Partners (Telkom, Coriant, Saab Grintek Technologies.

The research focus of the centre is on the use of computing technology for socio-economic development of marginalized and rural communities. The field-site of our research is a rural community of Dwesa in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The ICTD intervention in Dwesa, which is undertaken in collaboration with the Telkom Centre of Excellence at Rhodes University was formalized into a Living Lab and subsequently renamed “Siyakhula Living Lab”. The work “Siyakhula” means “We are growing together” and was suggested by the community members who are integral and active participants in the project.

The FOSST Discovery Centre initiative was established in 2004 and is aimed at enabling and encouraging high school learners to follow careers in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET). Its main objective is to develop interactive science related exhibits to expose and assist the community in understanding scientific concepts in practical terms. The Centre is very instrumental in recruiting high school learners to study at the UFH through various activities. It is also aimed at conveying awareness of SET to the University of Fort Hare (UFH) and the general community. The ultimate aim of the Centre is to be a resource centre to academically less-resourced surrounding schools and a tourist attraction (SET) Centre to UFH visitors. 

The FOSST Discovery Centre is one the 23 recognized Science Centres by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). FOSST is currently managed by a director and founder of it. The staff associated with it are the volunteers deployed by the DST, the JOCV (Japanese Overseas Corporation Agency) deployed by JICA (Japanese International Corporation Agency). It has also trained educators and subject advisers of the Eastern Cape Province on Physical Science and Mathematics content development. Since its inception, the FOSST Discovery Centre has made links with the local, national and international community, including schools.

The SAMRC Microbial water Quality Monitoring Centre is a national facility established and funded by the South Africa Medical Research Council (SAMRC). It was inaugurated on 26 November 2014 at the MRC headquarters in Cape. This centre with a life span of 15 years and annual subvention from the MRC of R1M in the first year (2015) and about R2.5M (capped) from the second year onwards is one of 8 such centres and units established in the country in 2014 and a veritable platform to conduct cutting edge water research in our region. 

The vision of the Centre is to strive to be a highly profitable center of excellence for the development of the next generation of microbial water resource specialists and to be primus inter pares for proffering solutions to the myriad of water related challenges in South Africa and beyond.

This centre was established to be a hub for addressing the myriad of challenges in the water sector within the overarching aim of her research initiatives which is “evaluating some key emerging challenges in microbial water quality and safety as a vehicle for skills and capacity development in water science especially amongst the previously disadvantages demographic groups in the Province.