Our Affiliates

Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (CIB)

The response of insects, which are especially sensitive to temperature changes and moisture availability, to climate change is critical to many sectors such as agriculture, human health and biodiversity. Research by members of the Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (C· I· B) and the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology has concluded that forecasting of pest damage in the context of climate change is a complex endeavour. A holistic approach is needed to ensure robust forecasting for precision agriculture.

School for Data Science and Computational Thinking

The School is a new entity at Stellenbosch University, established to facilitate trans-faculty approaches to teaching and research in data science and computational thinking. It is home to world-class academics as well as junior researchers, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. Thanks to its University-wide mandate and multi-disciplinary team of staff and students, the School can advance and connect a myriad of research agendas, ranging from the social impact of next-generation mobile internet connectivity to the development of new ontologies and algorithms in machine intelligence.In close collaboration with partners in industry, the School will accelerate and expand the University’s societal footprint in data science and computational thinking.

The Global Change Biology Group

The Global Change Biology Group (GCBG) is in the Department of Botany and Zoology and is headed by Distinguished Professor Guy Midgley. The team has 18 active members. Four of them are on their way to completing their PhDs and six are completing their master’s degrees. There is also a postdoctoral researcher, and six affiliated members. GCBG focuses on understanding and predicting the effects of global changes and their drivers on ecosystems and their component wild species, with a keen interest in the species-rich systems of southern Africa.

Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST)

The Centre for Sustainability Transitions (CST) in the School of Public Leadership aligns complexity thinking, sustainability science and transdisciplinary research methodology with crosscutting research themes involving food, water, energy and urban systems – all of which are vulnerable to climate change.

African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Energy

The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Energy, hosted in the Faculty of Engineering, focuses on the move towards
the implementation of renewable energy solutions in food systems and value chains to decrease the climate impacts of food production, but also to increase the productivity and resilience of African farmers. While the CoE is specifically framed around energy, it also investigates how energy issues interact with, or
impact on, other aspects such as water, economics and social components. The centre grapples with complex and multifaceted problems.



Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI)

SU remains at the forefront of delivering innovations in sustainability related to climate change. The Development and Rule of Law Programme (DROP)
focuses on the extent to which climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts connect with a broader sustainable development agenda. This programme – which is also closely linked to the Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI) – researches and promotes sustainable development law and policy.

Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering

Innovations towards sustainability are key to adapting to or mitigating climate change. The Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at SU, for instance, does research on energy efficiency and alternative energy, with a focus on addressing the challenges faced when using related technologies. This
research supports the transition towards renewable and cleaner energy sources while simultaneously reducing the water footprint of energy production.

Mechanical &


Department of Earth Sciences

Documenting change on land and in oceans, research on climate risks and adaptation to climate change is carried out in many of SU’s centres and across departments and faculties. Foundational research on reconstructions of past climates remains vital for putting current trends into context. The Department of Earth Sciences contributes new knowledge in this field, using “proxy indicators” that can reconstruct climate history over thousands to tens of thousands of years.

Department of Botany and Zoology

In the Department of Botany and Zoology, scientists have reassessed the biodiversity risks of climate change by projecting impacts on several thousand plant and animal species over the next few decades. Models predict that, if global greenhouse gas emissions are not substantially reduced over the next decade, there will be significant changes in the distribution of ecosystem types on land, and increased risks of extinction for between 10% and 20% of endemic species.

Botany &

Ecology &

Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology

While current forecasts of global change impacts on biodiversity often assume that species can survive in the long term under the environmental conditions in which they currently occur, collaborative work done in the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology points to mismatches, suggesting that forecasts are often too optimistic.