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University of the Witwaterstrand Institute for the Study of the Environment (WISE)


School of Animal Plant and Environmental Sciences
Private Bag 3
South Africa

Tel: 011 717 6407
Fax: 011 403 1429
Contact: Prof Mary Scholes - Direcot of the Institute

The Institute is adopting three approaches in developing capacity through the training of postgraduate students and through interacting with researchers and partners in Government Departments, Non Governmental Organisations, civic organisations, industries and other national and international research institutes.

Academic Development
This is being achieved through the offering of an MSc degree in Environmental Sciences and Resource Conservation Biology.

Research and Scarce Skills Development
Three areas of research have been identified.

  • Global change and impacts in Southern Africa
  • Ecotechnologies for the Future
  • Science and Society

Each of these three research areas has leaders from different disciplinary backgrounds; they are conducting a wide range of integrated research projects.

Strategic Partnership Development
Two interventions have been adopted.

  • Sustainability Forum – this is a forum, held on campus every six weeks, at which issues on sustainability are discussed in a scientifically, open, rigorous, debating atmosphere. Topics are wide ranging and include: climate change, water provision, the energy debate etc. The debates are attended by all sectors of the community – government, NGOs, COS, industry, academics etc.
  • Short Courses – These courses are taught off campus, where information is conveyed to interested parties on very specific topics eg Environmental Monitoring and Reporting. The purpose of these courses is to build capacity in the regions amongst members of the professional bodies as well the regulating bodies.
WiSE is working closely with the BMW chair for Sustainability and the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry as well as the student groups ‘Roots and Shoots’ and the ‘Biological Society’.