Accredited Centres

Research centres have a broad research mandate that may span across disciplines or rest with one discipline.

Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH)

Officially launched in August 2010 in memory of Alan J Flisher, the Alan J Flischer Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH) developed as an outcome of the Mental Health and Poverty Project (MHaPP), and out of a shared vision and commitment to collaboration between the University of Cape Town (Department of Psychiatry & Mental Health) and Stellenbosch University (Psychology Department). 

The vision of the CPMH is to be a collaborative inter-institutional multi-disciplinary centre that conducts high quality research on public mental health, and uses evidence for teaching, consultancy and advocacy to promote mental health in Africa.

The desired impact is that the CPMH will be widely acknowledged as a key party in the strengthening of expert capacity in mental health policy institutions in Africa, and a reliable and respected source of information and knowledge for uptake and utilisation.

More broadly, there will be a demonstrable increase in the number of African countries that are scaling up mental health services, and developing legislative and regulatory frameworks for public mental health systems.

The objectives of the CPMH are:

  • to build capacity in Africa for public mental health, mental health policy, planning and legislation, through accredited post-graduate teaching programmes
  • to undertake high quality research in the areas of public mental health, mental health policy, services, legislation and human rights
  • to advocate for the inclusion of mental health on health policy and development agendas in Africa
  • to provide advisory services to provincial and national government in African countries, and international health and development agencies, with the goal of strengthening mental health policy and systems.
Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (BMERC)

The Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (BMERC) basic and translational research in biomedical engineering, medical imaging, biomechanics, mechanobiology, health innovation and healthcare technology focuses on prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases and healthcare problems relevant to Africa and globally.

Research foci include trauma, cancer, tuberculosis, cardiovascular diseases, brain and neuromuscular disorders, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and alcohol abuse.

All research areas host projects for postgraduate degrees as part of the Biomedical Engineering Programme and the Health Innovation Programme.

Brain-Behaviour Centre (BBC)

The Brain-Behaviour Centre (BBC) is a multi-disciplinary, UCT-accredited collaborative hub of psychiatric neuroscience research.  It focuses on work particularly relevant to the South African and African context, and comprises three interlinked Groups:

  1. Psychiatric Neurogenetics
  2. Psychiatric Neuroimaging
  3. Translational Neuroscience

The BBU uses a range of methods, including neurogenetics, neuroimaging, and animal models, with the aim of ultimately advancing diagnostic tools and treatments for people with mental disorders.

Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research

The Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research (CEOHR) has been a University recognised research centre / unit since 1994. Between 2001 and 2005 the COEHR was a recognised MRC research entity. In 2005 it was designated a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health. The Centre has a substantial concentration of skills in clinical occupational medicine and occupational epidemiology research in the country.

The Centre is very active in social responsibility activities at many levels and has played an influential role in government, labour, industry and the general community in respect of health advocacy, policy research and development, applied research and consultancy.

Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research (CIDER)

The Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research (CIDER) is a WHO Collaborating Centre for HIV Epidemiology and conducts multi-disciplinary research on priority infectious diseases in Southern Africa, in order to improve disease prevention and management.

With HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis contributing enormously to the disease burden in the Western Cape Province, a research grouping focussing on priority infectious diseases was formed in 2000 within the School of Public Health and Family Medicine, which later became the URC accredited Centre we are today. More recently, CIDER’s focus has expanded to include other emerging infectious diseases including COVID-19 as well as non-communicable comorbidities associated with HIV and tuberculosis.

The Centre has strong links to service providers at provincial and national level, and a long track record of strengthening health information systems (The Open Integrated Health Platform (OpenIHP) to improve patient care as well as conduct operations research around program effectiveness and service delivery challenges. CIDER is comprised of a diverse, collaborative group of staff including epidemiologists, health professionals, biostatisticians, mathematical modelers, public health specialists, software developers, data capturers, project and data managers and administrators.

We are involved in a wide range of interdisciplinary research and teaching spanning surveillance, clinical epidemiology of tuberculosis, HIV, COVID-19 and other infectious disease prevention and treatment including:

Centre for Lung Infection and Immunity (CLII)

The Centre for Lung Infection and Immunity (CLII) is an WHO-associated ANDI Center for Diagnostic Excellence. The groups main research interests are the study of pulmonary regulatory immunological pathways in relation to infection, development and validation of rapid and field-friendly diagnostics for pulmonary infections, and outcome and intervention studies of drug-resistant tuberculosis

Desmond Tutu HIV Centre

The Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, a peer-reviewed research grouping based in the Faculty of Health Sciences, UCT, is committed to the pursuit of excellence in research, treatment, training, and prevention of HIV and related infections in Southern Africa. The research, clinical and community-based staff of the Centre share a common agreed purpose to lessen the impact of the HIV epidemic on individuals, families, and communities, through innovation and their passion for humanity. The aim of the Centre, through both basic and operational research, seeks to impact health policy through accredited peer-reviewed publication, guidance to local and national government and community education and feedback.

Health through Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Sport Research Centre (HPALS)

UCT Research Centre for Health through Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Sport (HPALS) aims to optimize human performance and promote health and well-being, addressing the growing pandemics of obesity and inactivity, reducing the burden of disease and injury, through promoting physical activity and sports participation, healthy eating and sleep hygiene.

At present, there is no other research entity in Africa, the specific aims of which address the nexus between physical activity and sports performance, nutrition and sleep health, across the life course, from the level of the cell to the individual, the community, and the environment, and ultimately, to apply the lens of health equity and environmental justice.

We interrogate the co-determinants and correlates of these behaviours, explore, co-develop and evaluate appropriate and targeted interventions, and gather evidence that informs policy and programmes and supports equitable scale-up of effective strategies. Finally, we test these interventions and programmes, policy and strategy approaches, against economic models, to estimate societal impact.

SAMRC/UCT Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre

The SAMRC/UCT Gynaecological Cancer Research Centre is a comprehensive cancer research centre fostering multidisciplinary collaboration between basic scientists, public health researchers and clinicians.

Our purpose is to understand the burden of gynaecological cancer in SA, to develop preventative strategies and to improve quality of care. Our values include innovative research, patient-centred care, enhancement of health policy, resource allocation and health-systems development.

South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI)

South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI),has positioned itself as a global leader in TB vaccine research, conducting multiple clinical trials, immunology studies, and observational cohorts over the two decades, since the first studies of Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccine started in 2000 with a large randomised controlled trial comparing percutaneous with intradermal administration in infants.

SATVI has made a substantial contribution to global TB vaccine development efforts, having conducted 27 clinical trials of novel candidate vaccines, in addition to 4 trials of BCG vaccine. Several of these studies have been pivotal for the field, including the first infant efficacy trial of a novel TB vaccine candidate (MVA85A) in 50 years; two adolescent trials of BCG revaccination for prevention of M. tuberculosis infection; and a ground-breaking adult efficacy trial of the subunit vaccine candidate M72/AS01E, which showed 50% protection against TB disease. The group has also conducted key epidemiological cohort studies for the discovery and validation of new TB biomarkers; and immunology studies to discover potential correlates of vaccine-mediated protection against TB.

Cape Town Office:

Werner and Beit South Room S2.01

UCT Faculty of Health Sciences, Anzio Road, Observatory.

Tel:  +27 21 406 6791 or +27 21 406 6014

Worcester Field Site

SATVI Project Office, Brewelskloof Hospital, Haarlem Road, Worcester.

Tel: + 27 23 346 5400


Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa)

The Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa) fosters investigator-led approaches via the overarching scientific objective of combatting infection, especially HIV-1 and tuberculosis, through clinical and laboratory research. In the future, CIDRI-Africa will expand its portfolio to include support for research on the interaction between communicable and non-communicable diseases, especially where the latter impact susceptibility to infection, or arise as a consequence of infection. In addition, CIDRI-Africa will improve understanding and management of the challenges of antiretroviral therapy (ART) such as metabolic complications and antiretroviral drug resistance.

CIDRI-Africa was established at the University of Cape Town to augment acknowledged strengths in the basic and clinical aspects of infectious diseases research in the Faculty of Health Sciences. The prestigious award of centre status from the Wellcome Trust is unique, as CIDRI-Africa is the only Wellcome Centre outside the United Kingdom. Three interlinked platforms support clinical studies in the community (Clinical Research), improve the depth of laboratory investigations for infected materials (Basic Science) and advance cutting-edge integration of high-dimensional, big data (Biomedical Data Integration). Each platform is led by an established internationally recognised investigator based in the Faculty of Health Sciences, supported by a Platform Academic.