At Stellenbosch University, pushing the boundaries of knowledge and possibility is our focus. Our research mission is to stay future-focused and maximise our impact.

Institute leads cutting-edge biomedical research in Africa, for Africa

An investigator tracking the path of COVID-19, a scientist deciphering the body’s own armour against antimicrobial resistance, and an immunologist studying the placentas of pregnant women for clues that can explain preterm births. These are but three of the scientists at Stellenbosch University who are contributing to research for impact in Africa, and the world at large.

Advances in forensic art explore and preserve our common humanity

In her work on projects aimed at restoring personhood for missing and unidentified people of the past — both recent and ancient — Dr Kathryn Smith, Departmental Chair of Visual Arts at Stellenbosch University (SU), is unearthing shared histories and untold stories through art, science, and collaborative work.

The future of microbiome-based therapeutics

A new study on the relationship between our gut microbiome and the brain provides a stepping-stone for future research into microbiome-related therapeutics to prevent or treat mental health disorders. For the past 35 years, Prof Leon Dicks has dedicated his research in the Department of Microbiology to the study of lactic acid bacteria, a group of bacteria that are beneficial to humans.

We are committed to achieving excellence in research, and to ensuring that our work contributes to the well-being of society. Click on the link below to read about some of the interdisciplinary knowledge generated and emerging fields of research at the university.

Our strategic research areas

Our strategic research areas help ensure that our work connects the university with the world. Explore our research focus and its relevance to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the National Development Plan here.


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At SU, we are committed to achieving excellence in research and scholarship, and to ensuring that our work contributes to the well-being of society. This section features profiles of some of our prolific researchers whose work is featured on this site. Some of them are world leaders in their respective fields. New profile features on some of our many innovators, postdoctoral students and emerging researchers will be added regularly.

Prof Elmi Muller

In 2022, surgical pioneer Prof Elmi Muller took over the reins from Prof Jimmy Volmink as dean of Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS). This appointment is yet another milestone in a career that is already marked by many formidable achievements.

Prof Jonathan Jansen

Few A1-rated academics can, among their outputs and citations, list that their tweets in support of Springbok rugby were quoted in newspapers. But such is the public following of Prof Jonathan Jansen, distinguished professor in education at Stellenbosch University (SU) and president of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

Professor Novel Chegou

Prof Novel Chegou is this year’s winner of the Royal Society Africa Prize, an annual award by the United Kingdom’s national science academy that recognises the innovative contribution of an African research scientist. Chegou is being honoured for his work in the fields of pulmonary and extrapulmonary tuberculosis.