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Research entities

WiSER logo

Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER)

There can be few regions anywhere in the world with a more acute need for incisive, high-calibre social science research than Africa. Social institutions and networks are being transformed all over the continent. The rise of new sites of accumulation, the reconfiguration of political systems, the recomposition of gender relations, are as much part of a complex reworking of old social relations as responses to changing external circumstances. At a time of such rapid and tumultuous change, many current social processes are virtually uncharted, both empirically and theoretically. For more information, click here.


Health Communications Research Unit

Health Communication Research Unit

Effective and disease-specific communication can play a huge role in the improved health of patients with various diseases and illnesses ranging from HIV/AIDS and strokes to schizophrenia, says Claire Penn, a Research Professor from the School of Human and Community Development and Director of the Health Communication Project at Wits University. According to Penn, the aim of the project is to apply methods from social sciences such as linguistics and anthropology to investigate communication practices used in intercultural health interactions. The project, which harnesses the knowledge and expertise of a multidisciplinary team, not only focuses on verbal communication, but also non-verbal behaviours that happen in an interaction between individuals in health care contexts. For more information visit our website.

Society, Work and Politics Institute (SWOP)

The SWOP Institute strives to conduct high quality research on the world of work. We are primarily academic in orientation, with an emphasis on disseminating research through teaching, publications and conferences, and at the same time do a significant amount of policy research on contract. We maintain communication and interaction with a broad range of actors within the world of work, such as organised labour, business, government and other research organisations. SWOP plays a critical role in producing groundbreaking social science research on the world of work, society, the state and the environment. For more information, click here.

REAL logo

Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL)

The Centre for Researching Education and Labour (REAL) is a research centre in the School of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand. The REAL Centre conducts research into areas of theoretical and policy concern focused on the complex relationships between education, knowledge, work, the economy, and society. The REAL Centre is a vibrant part of the Wits School of Education’s Education Leadership, Policy and Skills Division, conducting cutting edge research, offering teaching programmes which develop the professional capacity of researchers and practitioners, and providing support to policymakers and regulatory institutions. Previously known as the Education Policy Unit (EPU), the REAL Centre became a fully-fledged research centre in 2012. For more information, click here.


The Emthonjeni Centre

The Emthonjeni Centre (EC), an initiative by the School of Human and Community Development, is aimed at providing a vehicle for donors to support the creation of a multi-disciplinary community service and development centre. In addition to current services the EC also aims to establish collaborative networks with organization and institutions internationally and on the continent of Africa. In this way the centre hopes to facilitate scholarship and knowledge generation that promotes sustainable development in various communities, especially on the African continent. For more information, click here.


Centre for Language and Hearing Impaired Children

Started by Wits Speech Pathology and Audiology, and now managed by the Society for Language and Hearing Impaired Children Wits in association with Wits, the Centre has developed into an integrated unit that offers a specialised programme for children with speech-language and hearing impairments. Children are integrated into small classes in a specialised pre-primary environment focusing on language stimulation. For more information, click here.


CISA Centre for Indian Studies in Africa logo

Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA)

The Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) was established at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg towards the end of 2007. The Centre is the first in Africa to focus on India. CISA promotes teaching, research and public activities concerning the Indian sub-continent, its links to Africa and the Indian Ocean, the Global South and builds on the multi-faceted networks developed with Indian universities, research institutions and public agencies. From January 2010, the Mellon Foundation has funded the programme for a period of five years allowing for the appointment of Professor Dilip M.Menon as the Mellon Chair in Indian Studies. The Centre tries to chart a new post colonial history through working against nation centered thinking on historical processes and promotes thinking about the histories of Africa, Asia and Latin America together through the connections that they have always had through religion, commerce, the movements of labour and capital, and not least the circulation of ideas. From January 2011 the Centre will introduce the interdisciplinary Masters Programme in Histories of the Global South, 1800-2000. Teaching activity will be complemented by workshops, conferences, talks and distinguished lectures. In November 2010, the first international conference organized by CISA will be held bringing together scholars on Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean titled Writing Post National Histories: Other Geographies Other Times. Professor Isabel Hofmeyr and four post doctoral Fellows-Jon Soske, Madhumita Lahiri, Rebecca Walker and Heloise Finch-Boyer are the other members associated with the Centre. 



Wits Centre for Ethics

The Wits Centre for Ethics (WiCE) is a research centre housing a team of moral specialists, based in the philosophy department, but bringing together researchers from different disciplines across the university, which produces research into ethical issues of concern to the Southern African region. The centre's work includes research, teaching and advocacy, and it organizes conferences and talks which are open to all. Whereas other Ethics centres in the country specialize in areas of applied ethics such as Bioethics or Business Ethics, WiCE works in both theoretical questions such as the nature of morality, moral knowledge, and how moral objectivity is possible, as well as applied ethical questions, such as arms sales, HIV testing regimes, business responsibility to workers, press objectivity, and animal rights. Current research focuses include justice, punishment, responsibility and ubuntu. For more information, click here.



African Centre for Migration & Society

The African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at Wits University in Johannesburg is Africa’s leading scholarly institutions for research and teaching on human mobility. Established in 1993, ACMS is an independent, interdisciplinary and internationally engaged institution focusing on relationships among human movement politics, poverty, and social transformation. While oriented towards Southern Africa, the Centre conducts collaborative scholarly and policy-oriented work across sub-Saharan Africa, and has partnerships in Asia, Europe and the Americas. It offers Africa’s only post-graduate degree in forced migration studies and provides training to students and professionals on topics ranging from the sociology of migration, mobility and health, human rights, and research methods.

While maintaining its scholarly independence, the Centre regularly joins with organisations in government and civil society in identifying data needs, conducting research and shaping policy. Centre staff are also regularly called on to provide expert advice and commentary to international organisations, governments, and the media. For more information, click here or click here for the external site.


The Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education is a division of the Wits School of Education.Marang Centre was inaugurated as an academic centre in October 2005, following substantial sponsorship from the Standard Bank of South Africa, which continues to be the major sponsor of the centre. The centre occupies part of the Education Campus, formerly the campus of the Johannesburg College of Education in the Parktown section of Johannesburg next to the School of Medical and Health Sciences. Click here for website



WiCDS Diversity Studies

Wits Centre for Diversity Studies

Through interdisciplinary research, education, and projects, the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies is a hub for engaging issues of transformation and social justice. The Centre offers an MA in the Field of Diversity Studies as well as public short courses on “race”, diversity, social justice and transformation in organisations. Click here for website


Learning Information Networking Knowledge (LINK) Centre 

The LINK Centre is the leading academic research and training body in the field of electronic communications and ICT (information and communications technology) policy, regulation and management in Southern Africa. LINK focuses on knowledge production and capacity building for the broad ICT sector, including focus on the telecoms and broadcasting sectors (electronic communications), advances in the wider ICT sector, e-government in the public sector, and e-development in society and the economy. It offers certificate and degree educational programmes, applied research and advisory services, necessary to maximise the benefits of the information society and the knowledge economy. It prepares research-based policy advice to government and regional bodies, and publishes a DoHET-accredited academic journal, The African Journal of Information and Communication.