Developing African scholarship for global impact

The University of Cape Town (UCT) Researcher Development Academy (RDA) supports the advancement of scholarship in Africa by providing professional training and development to researchers at all stages of their careers.

Based at UCT, Africa’s leading university, the RDA offers capacity building programmes aimed at developing research capacity and excellence. Our approach is collaborative and involves forging partnerships and working together with institutions on the continent.

The programmes we offer are built on the extensive experience we have gained in developing and delivering the successful Emerging Researcher Programme at UCT since 2003. Our programmes run between two to five days with content customised to suit the needs of the host institution. All our programmes are presented by expert facilitators in the field of researcher development who are PhD-qualified and have research and publishing experience.

Through our programmes, we are committed to strengthening the representation of African scholars internationally by ensuring that researchers across the continent reach their full potential.

What can the Researcher Development Academy do for you?

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For researchers

  • build a successful academic career
  • improve the quality of your and your team’s research
  • get published and grow your network
  • garner funding
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For academic institutions

  • strengthen your research enterprise
  • cultivate your next generation of research leaders
  • increase your research visibility and impact

Our programmes

Programme for Emerging Researchers in South Africa

  • This is a four-day immersion programme aimed at academics who are not yet established researchers. Each day addresses one key element of a successful research career: understanding context and planning research goals, pursuing and supervising a master’s degree or PhD, publishing and sharing research, identifying funding opportunities and writing a winning grant proposal.
  • Participants will leave the programme with a strong foundation for a successful research career.

Programme for Emerging Researchers in Africa

  • This programme’s content is similar to that for the Programme for Emerging Researchers in South Africa but adapted for institutions elsewhere in Africa.

Customisable programmes

  • These programmes are tailored to your institution's needs. They run for two to five days and are designed in consultation with you: they build on your strengths and address your needs, and can be cross-disciplinary or targeted at particular disciplines or disciplinary clusters.
  • The potential topics cover: grant proposal writing, writing for publications, pursuing master’s and PhD degrees, supervising master’s and PhD degrees, navigating postgraduate studies, career and research planning and research ethics and integrity.
  • We can also develop a programme on a specific topic of interest to you.

Long-term researcher development partnerships

  • With this option, the RDA undertakes to support the development of research capacity at your institution over a specified timeline (ideally, two to three years) in collaboration with you. Through our partnership, we will get to know your institution and design programmes to address your needs.
  • The goal is to help develop a new generation of research leaders at your institution.

Interesting reads


"You have made a huge impact by offering this course to our early career staff and we hope that our staff members will attend more of these training development courses. Thank you so much." — University research manager

"The training was indeed a valuable opportunity for our early career academics; for that I would like to thank you very much. I think our academic colleagues benefitted tremendously and that important new networks were formed." — University capacity development manager

"It is clear that the training was of a high standard and that attendees gained much during the course." — University senior research manager

"I am extremely appreciative of your having put in the considerable time and effort in developing the new material for the customised course. A huge thank you to your team for your sterling efforts.” — University senior research manager

“Presenters are well-versed, knowledgeable and have pleasant dispositions. The course met my expectations. I feel equipped to start my supervision journey." — Delegate

"The course was packed with insightful discussions. I learnt from the facilitators and my colleagues." — Delegate

"The highlights of the workshop were the presentations and layout of the seminar structure. All aspects covered made great knowledge and skills development for my future practices as a supervisor." — Delegate

"The course showed that one is not alone in these supervisory challenges and gave opportunities to learn how to solve them better. Forums provided a platform for generous sharing." — Delegate

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