Statement from the Science Faculty on the article on Black Students in Biological Sciences

The Science Faculty does not endorse the article on “Why are black South African students less likely to consider studying biological sciences?” that appeared in the South African Journal of Science, Vol 116, No 5/6 (2020). This article, published as a non-peer reviewed Commentary, does not represent the views of the Faculty and UCT. While the challenges of transformation and inclusivity across different levels of study in the Science Faculty are real, the article does not engage with the complexity of the issues in a scientifically rigorous manner. Critical reflection and rigorous research is needed in this discipline, and others, in terms of curriculum, pedagogy and professional practice. Moreover, the article makes disturbing assumptions about all black South African students, including those in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Faculty of Science at UCT. We reaffirm our commitment to transformation, inclusivity and good scientific practice in the Science Faculty and regret that articles like this do not help us achieve these goals. 

Professor Maano Ramutsindela

Dean of Science

4 June 2020



Saturday, 4 July 2020
When giant mustelids roamed South Africa

Recent discoveries by scientists at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Iziko Museums of South Africa show how a wolf-sized otter (Sivaonyx hendeyi) and leopard-sized wolverine (Plesiogulo aff. monspesulanus) lived along South Africa’s West Coast 5 million years ago.

Publication Date:
Mon, 01 Jun 2020 - 20:15
Harnessing plant power to curb COVID-19

Here’s a different reason for tobacco to be in the news. Cape Bio Pharms, a biotech company with its origins in the Biopharming Research Unit (BRU) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), has joined the global effort to create a fast and affordable antibody test for COVID-19, using a relative of the tobacco plant.

Publication Date:
Thu, 28 May 2020 - 17:00
UCT’s two 2020 WEF Young Scientists

Every year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) selects an elite group of researchers under the age of 40 to participate in their Young Scientists programme. This year, the University of Cape Town (UCT) is represented by two brilliant women scientists. Dr Sarah Fawcett, from the Department of Oceanography is one of them...

Publication Date:
Wed, 27 May 2020 - 13:00
Siberians and First Americans go way back

A team of international researchers has assessed the population history of prehistoric humans that lived in the region around Lake Baikal, Russia, and found the deepest connection to date between the peoples of Siberia and the Americas. The research – which combines the fields of human population genetics, the study of ancient pathogen’s genomes and isotope analysis – also demonstrates human mobility, and hence connectivity, across Eurasia during the Early Bronze Age (around 3000 to 2100 BC). Dr Petrus Le Roux, a chief research officer in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT), who is a co-author on the paper.  

Publication Date:
Thu, 21 May 2020 - 15:30