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The University Capacity Development Programme and Grant

Earmarked grants from government complement block grants and are meant to act as effective mechanisms to purposefully steer and support the university system towards the achievement of specified objectives. The Department of Higher Education (DHET) is in the process of phasing out the existing Teaching Development Grants (TDG) and Research Development Grants (RDG) from April – December 2017. The phasing out is being followed by the introduction of a new University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP) which will be resourced by the University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG) at the beginning of 2018. This new earmarked grant represents both a consolidation and extension of the functions that were served by the TDG and RDG. The new Programme is intended to build on the gains made in the implementation of the TDG and RDG, as the sector moves towards a more coherent approach in addressing transformation imperatives.


The University Capacity Development Programme Transforming teaching, learning, researching and leading towards enhanced quality, success and equity in universities, is underpinned by principles of transformation. It is intended that the programme will be rolled out and resourced through the UCDG, to steer the system in the direction of good practice and ongoing capacity development. The UCDP is focused on:

•             An integration of teaching and research development

•             The nurturing of South African and African identity and diversity

•             Developing capacity

•             Access and success

•             Developing relevant, inclusive curricula

•             Exploring alternative pedagogies

•             Retaining African and Coloured women in the system

•             The efficient use of resources

•             Quality

•             Equity


The UCDP is structured around three sub programmes:

1.            Student development

2.            Staff development,

3.            Curriculum transformation and programme development


The Ministerial Statement provides details on each sub programme and the focus areas therein. In summary, the UCDP intends to achieve the following transformation objectives:

•             High levels of success for undergraduate and postgraduate students

•             Development opportunities for  academic and professional staff  (Underpinned by the Staffing South African Universities Framework)

•             Development of new academic programmes

•             A review and renewal of curricula.


UCT is required to submit a draft UCDP Plan to the DHET on 28th July 2017. The Plan and projects proposed therein must align to the principles of the UCDP contained in the Ministerial Statement, UCT’s Strategic Framework, and a selection of participation, progression and completion indicators that the University will be expected to indicate its contribution to improving.


The UCT UCDP Steering Committee has prepared the following documents in order to assist proposal development:

•             An internal UCT template and criteria to be used for the evaluation of proposals. Proposals must be submitted on this UCT proposal template to Amanda Barratt (x2614) by 10th July 2017

•             An alignment between the UCDP and Strategic Framework

•             A guide to the UCDP

•             Institutional baselines for the DHET indicators.