The Research Programmes of the University are performed through critical mass of researchers and organised into different Research Centres/Units/Groups. The organisation of research is based on the Policy on Centres, Units and Groups approved by Senate and Council in 2014. The policy is informed by the University Research and Development Plan, 2014 – 2020.

Currently, the University has the following research entities and key research focus areas:

Centres | Units | Groups


Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM)
Leader Prof. W du Preez Director, CRPM Research
Objective Research focus areas:

  • Additive Manufacturing of Medical Implants and Devices, using titanium alloy powders and polymers powders
  • Additive Manufacturing of Aerospace Components
  • Additive Manufacturing of Advanced Tooling
  • Additive Manufacturing for Direct End-use
  • Design for Additive Manufacturing as enabling competence
Centre for Applied Food Safety and –Biotechnology (CAFSaB)
Leader Prof. JFR Lues, Professor Department of Life Sciences
Objective The CAFSaB will be offering high quality research outputs that culminate into postgraduate qualifications, publications in high-quality journals, patentable and commersializable innovations and skills addition to members in the field of Food Safety and Biotechnology. The aim is:

  • To produce a steady flow of research outputs that surpasses DHET and CUT guidelines;
  • To build and expand a staff cohort that comprises national and international leaders;
  • To contribute to business and society via applied outcomes and solutions. The niche market for the CAFSaB will be the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences at CUT, DHET, business and commerce in the Free State, social disadvantaged sectors and wider CUT structures.



Unit for Foundations of Education
Leader Prof. G Schlebusch, Head: Department of Post Graduate Studies in Education
Objective To build capacity of prospective and well established academics and researchers in the area of research in the different sub-disciplines of education including curriculum studies, psychology of education, educational management and education law, philosophy of education, sociology of education.
Unit of Research in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (RSoTL)
Leader Prof. IM Ntshoe – C Rated NRF Researcher
Objective The purpose of the proposed unit is to become a home for all research activities on teaching and learning at CUT in general, and for the DHET teaching and learning development grant at the Central University of Technology (CUT). The project aims to build capacity of staff and students to carry out research in teaching and learning and thus improve their teaching and student success. It aims to build capacity of staff to develop abstracts and papers for conferences and journals on RToTL, develop capacity in the development of a common philosophy and approach to teaching and learning of different professional and sectoral fields of practices of higher education in general, and universities of technology (UoTs) and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), research academic development and support practices and programmes. Thus, this mentorship project is to create RSoTL as a scholarly niche, and the development of a critical mass in this area.
Unit for Scholarship in Research Education
Leader Prof.  Laetus OK Lategan (NRF Rated Researcher), Dean: Research and Innovation
Objective The objective of the research entity is to identify and develop a research culture through two core themes:

  • The type of research training is required for researchers (staff and postgraduate students) to participate in the research and innovation value chain (basic research focus)
  • Identify on the basis of these results appropriate research education strategies to train researchers (at various levels of experience) with regard to the on-going demands of a research culture and the requirements of the research and innovation value chain.

These strategies include knowing and understanding the research environment, personal and career advancement, to be ethical and trustworthy, acquiring adequate planning skills, communication skills and science writing skills and to engage actively in knowledge transfer and innovation.

Research Unit for Evolvable and Manumation Systems (RGEMS)
Leader Prof. HJ Vermaak, Professor Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Objective The unit will do applied research in Renewable Energy technologies and optimisation as well research on Vision systems and applications within the Manufacturing/Assembly/Quality fields, the projects is done with industry, government and the current projects have the aim to engage with the community and especially the rural community as well as SMME’s in South Africa and in particular our region.
Unit for Lean Construction and Sustainability (ULCS)
Leader Prof. FA Emuze, Associate Professor and Head: Department of Built Environment
Objective The primary vision of this Unit is:

  • To develop further understanding of ‘lean’ and ‘sustainability’ in relation to ‘theory and practice’ as it impact on the built environment in developing economies.
  • To critically appraise lean construction as an efficiency driven strategy with key aspects tied to management sciences, social sciences, and engineering in order to lead the development of novel strategies for the proliferation of sustainability in the built environment.
Unit for Drug and Discovery Research
Leader Prof. Samson Sitheni Mashele, Dean of Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences (Medical Biochemistry, Ethnopharmacology)
Objective The increased incidence of multiple drug resistance, hypersensitivity, immune-suppression and allergic reactions encountered with the use of conventional medicines, necessitates the bioprospecting for drugs for new and natural sources such as plants. These issues will be addressed in the research unit through the systematic recording of medicinal plant resources used by traditional medical practitioners, their evaluation for medicinal potential and by the creation of medicinal plant gardens which contribute to their conservation. Furthermore, the use of bioinformatics in the identification of new drug targets and development of inhibitors puts us in line with recent developments in drug development and design. The Unit undertakes the multidisciplinary Unit for Drug Discovery Research and has identified 4 themes.1. Medical Biochemistry, Ethno-pharmacology2. Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics3. Agriculture, Essential Oils, Aromatic plants

4. Clinical Research

Unit for Enterprise Studies (UES)
Leader Prof. Dennis Yao Dzansi, Head: Department of Business Support Studies – Entrepreneurship; Business Ethics; Business Social Responsibility
Objective Activities under this unit will cover broad areas of public, private and social enterprises and dovetails with the socio economic development.The specific objectives of the unit are to:1.  Conduct blue sky research on topical/contemporary issues in business with entrepreneurship bias;2.  Disseminate research findings through journal articles and conference papers;

3.  Publish books on public, private and/or social enterprise;

4.  Provide business consultancy services to SMMEs in the FS;

5.  Offer contract research services based on demand;

6.  Conduct research seminars and host conferences on enterprise issues.

The research thematic areas are:

  • New venture creation
  • Ethical entrepreneurship
  • Responsible/sustainable entrepreneurship
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Emerging technologies in entrepreneurship
  • Higher education in entrepreneurship
  • Small business development
  • Corporate entrepreneurship
  • Human capital development
  • Sustainable HRM in SMMEs
  • Organisational behaviour
  • HRM
  • Entrepreneurial marketing
  • Leadership
  • Strategic management
  • Project management
  • Public Private Partnership
  • Retail studies
Unit for Public Management and Administration
Leader Prof. T van Niekerk (Edwards), Head: Department of Government Management
Objective The main objectives of research conducted within the Research Unit in Public Management and Administration include the following:

  • To align the research strategy of the Department of Government Management Research Unit with CUT’s Vision 2020.   The CUT’s Vision 2020 aims to ensure that CUT becomes an engaged university that focuses on producing quality social and technological innovations in socio-economic developments, primarily in the central region of South Africa.
  • To strengthen the research capacity of our students and staff through mentoring, workshops, conferences and seminars; and
  • To focus our research around the focus areas with the aim to increase our research outputs. The major focus areas of research in the Department of Government Management.
Unit for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Research
Leader Prof. M. K. Mhlolo, Mathematics Education
Objective The objectives of the project are:

  • To identify the needs of the practicing Mathematics, Science & Technology Teachers in the high schools around Bloemfontein
  • To develop a teacher support programme that will pedagogically capacitate these teachers to meet the needs of their learners
  • To improve learner performance in Mathematics, Science & Technology Education in the schools that are going to take part in the project
  • To recruit Mathematics, Science & Technology Teachers into our post graduate programmes


Unit for Tourism Destination and Management
Leader Dr R Haarhoff, Head: Tourism and Event Management
Objective The research unit on Tourism Destination Management aligns with the Leisure Management cluster which is a strategic research focus for CUT. The objectives of the research unit are as follow:

  • To align the research strategy of the unit to CUT’s Vision 2020 which aims to ensure that CUT becomes an engaged university that focuses on producing quality social and technological innovations in socio-economic developments, primarily in the central region of South Africa.
  • To build the research capacity of our students and staff through mentoring, workshops and seminars.
  • To focus our research around the areas where we have the capacity to generate research outputs.

To optimize our research outputs through the completion of post-graduate qualifications, publications in accredited journals, presentations at national and international conferences and applying for external research funding.

Unit for Research on Informatics for Droughts in Africa (URIDA)
Leader Dr. EM Masinde, Head: Department of Information Technology
Objective The Unit is dedicated to the advancement of scientific research and development of relevant and sustainable Information Technology and Communication (ICTs) tools for predicting Africa’s persistent climatic variability, especially droughts. The Unit adopts an inter-sectoral (meteorological, hydrological, computer science, engineering, health, agriculture and planning) approach to ensure people-centred early warning systems that are both accessible and perceived as relevant to at-risk communities in Africa. Africa consistently contribute over 50% of people affected by droughts, by providing solutions to this calamity, the Unit will make a positive contribution to the Agenda 2063: the Africa we Want.
Unit for Sustainable Water and Environment (USWE)   
Leader Prof. Yali Woyessa, Associate Professor and Head: Department of Civil Engineering
Objective The research on sustainable water resources and environment is aimed at addressing problems related to water scarcity and environmental issues. Impacts of the major drivers of water scarcity and environmental issues, such as population growth, economic growth, improved living standard, climate change, etc. are investigated with the final goal of contributing to the three pillars of sustainability (social, environmental and economic). To this effect, the research is organized under two major thematic areas, namely extreme hydrologic events and hydrological and water resources modeling. The extreme hydrologic event theme focuses primarily on the analysis, forecasting and management of droughts and floods in the central regions of South Africa whereas the hydrological and water resources modeling theme focuses on the assessment of impacts of land use and climate change in the region.



Sustainable Urban, Roads and Transportation (SURT)
Leader Dr M Mostafa, Senior Lecturer Department of Civil Engineering
Objective The general aim of the research group is to study towards sustainable engineering solutions to impact the lives of the people through research in transportation related topics.
Advanced Database and Software Engineering
Leader Mr N Mabanza, Lecturer Department of Information Technology
Objective Provide innovative and affordable solutions to day by day problems faced by previously and currently disadvantaged population with regards to areas of Social, Education, Businesses,
Distributes Systems and Networks
Leader Mr G M Muriithi, Lecturer Department of Information Technology
OBJECTIVE Investigate appropriate and innovative IT Technologies of local relevance touching on the following areas – Education, Health, Local Government, SMEs, among others.
Mobile Technologies for Education
Leader Mrs MI Venter, Lecturer Department of Information Technology
Objective To provide innovative mobile technologies for education that can be used to improve the skills level of the community.
Soil Mechanics
Leader Dr Elizabeth Theron
Objective The focus of the group is to assess or investigate foundation problems due to heaving clays in the Free State.The research will be based on:

  • The development of reliable and readily applicable methods for assessing the heave potential of the active clays commonly found in the Free State and
  • The development of reliable methods for designing foundations using the new developed methods.
Research Group in Engineering Education (AGREE)
Leader Prof. James Swart, Associate Professor Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
Objective ARGEE aligns itself with the Teaching and Learning Plan 2014-2020 of CUT and undertakes to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning. It forms part of the Research Programme of Education. Two of its main aims are to create awareness of research possibilities in Engineering Education and promote innovative pedagogies within the FEIT!
Sustainable Bio-Environment 
Leader Prof. A Fossey, Department of Life Sciences
Objective Focus on water quality research aimed at the development of new tools (ways) to describe water quality data. Include the development of new technologies for safe waste disposal of health care risk waste, development of a waste water guide at abattoirs, improvement of health care waste services.

Uploaded: 31 July 2017

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