Professor Sue Harrison

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation

Professor Sue Harrison was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation with effect from 1 August 2019.

Her portfolio includes advancing the research quality, quantity and impact across the university, enhancing UCT’s African agenda, internationalization and research partnerships, growing and transforming the postgraduate sector and oversight of interdisciplinary university research institutes.

She has a long, varied track record in management and leadership, starting with her headship of Chemical Engineering some 20 years back, through serving as Deputy Dean: Postgraduate and Research for 6 years. Her research and teaching career extend over some 30 years. She has led research groupings and championed interdisciplinary research capacity at UCT, as well as the role of soft-funded researchers. Her contribution to UCT’s research management is shown through her ongoing involvement with research and postgraduate committees and working groups at UCT. Her contribution to research nationally has been demonstrated through her leadership role in the nurturing of innovation and in the implementation plans for the bioeconomy strategy.


  • BSc majoring in Chemistry and Microbiology, UCT
  • BSc Honours in Microbiology, UCT
  • PhD (Chemical Engineering), Cambridge University

Awards, Honours and Membership of Societies:

  • Awarded South Africa’s Distinguished Woman Scientist of 2007
  • Awarded SARChI Chair in Bioprocess Engineering in 2008
  • Elected to UCT’s College of Fellows in 2015
  • Awarded the national NSTF–South 32 award for Research and Engineering capacity development in 2016
  • NRF rating: B1

Recent Career Experience:

  • 6 years as Deputy Dean: Postgraduate and Research: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, UCT (2010–2015)
  • 5 years as Head of Department, Chemical Engineering
  • 29 years as an academic at the University of Cape Town
  • 19 years as Professor of Chemical Engineering
  • 18 years as Director: Centre for Bioprocess Engineering Research, CeBER
  • 3 years as Director: Future Water, UCT’s interdisciplinary water research institute
  • SARChI Research Chair in Bioprocess Engineering (2008–2019)
  • Chair: Board of Trustees, Cape Biotech Trust (2005–2010)
  • Member of the Board of the Technology Innovation Agency in South Africa (2009 – May 2012)
  • Teaching or visiting researcher positions at University of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University, University of the Free State, Exeter University (UK), MIT (USA), Cambridge University (UK), University of Zambia (Zambia) and Central South University (Changsa, China)

Research profile:

  • Co-authored 207 research papers in refereed journals (129), conference proceedings (68) and book chapters (10)
  • H–index of 37 on Google Scholar and 29 on Scopus
  • Supervised 111 postgraduate students to completion (20 PhD and 91 MSc degrees of which 50 were awarded to women and 62 to Black students).