NWU one of

top five


universities in SA

A bibliometrics* company, Clarivate Analytics, recently published a report that lists the NWU as one of the top five innovative universities in South Africa.


* Bibliometrics involve the analysis of written publications such as books or articles.
Bibliometric companies provide, among others, research and investing information.

The report, "A focus on the top 5 innovative universities in South Africa", examined universities and how their contributions are distributed across the total national landscape. The key objective of the report was to look for innovation indicators and what universities are doing in relation to collaborative and industry partners.


Universities were measured according to research and innovation productivity to establish the relevance of research indices in measuring science-innovation conversion. An important factor was to determine if research impact can be attributed to innovation output.


The report commended the NWU as the single university that stood out the most. “The NWU was in the top five patent filers. The NWU had a filing strategy of more patent family members per invention than other universities and hence their published patent output is higher, helping them to attain the number one position regarding innovation. This is a significant observation and something which clearly is different to other universities.”


A pleasant surprise

Prof Deon de Beer, the NWU’s executive director for technology transfer and innovation support, says the NWU did not commission a report. “It was totally unexpected. A former colleague of mine informed me that the report was presented at the South African Research and Innovation Management Association’s conference which was held from 22 to 25 May in Windhoek.”


Deon says the report is a boon for the university. “The NWU is not regarded as one of the top five universities in South Africa in terms of producing research and that is why this report shows that we are becoming more and more competitive in the sector. It is encouraging that outside evaluators see this.


“We are the only university in the top five innovation universities that do not have a medical school. This is significant because medical schools usually account for volumes of research outputs.”


Strategy is healthy

He believes this is a clear indication that the NWU’s patenting strategy has enabled the university to overtake bigger universities. “The fact that the findings are also based on historical data proves that the university’s commercialisation and innovation strategy, which have been in place for a long time, is healthy and effective.


“In the end it is all about the joint impact. Good innovation and commercialisation is dependent on meaningful research results. We can be proud of our whole value chain, from the beginning with research done by faculties to the end with the patenting and commercialisation of innovations.”