The Humanities Academic Pipeline (HAP) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation within the framework of the Turning The Tide intervention. It is envisaged as a comprehensive plan to build a robust cohort of academics from historically disadvantaged backgrounds who demonstrate research interests in knowledge production that helps to understand the human condition through new lenses of inquiry. The programme is motivated by the demographic disparities among students, need to nurture, expand the cohort and create a pipeline of Black South African humanities doctoral and postdoctoral researchers.

HAP focuses on identifying and nurturing talent from the level of senior postgraduate study where students are already starting to define their academic voices. These potential academics are fully funded and placed within a structured academic development programme in order that they are well concentrated on the task of producing excellent research within a short timeframe. 

While the programme is open to all disciplines, special emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary projects in line with the UCT Faculty of Humanities and institutional imperatives to promote interdisciplinarity in curriculum development and research enterprise.


Teaching contracts provide fellows with opportunities to be fully immersed in the Faculty as they complete their PhDs and postdoctoral projects. They enable absorption of new talent and serve as opportunities for PhD and postdoctoral candidates to develop their teaching skills and overall profile, putting them in line for permanent positions as current academic staff retire or move on to other positions.

Annual writing retreats are opportune times in a research journey to consolidate one’s conceptualisations and findings within the supportive environment of peers and mentors. It is a critical time for fellows to find a focused space in which to address problematic areas of their research and bring clarity to their work, enabling a timeous output.

Research collaboration and conference travel grants are made available to fellows competitively to facilitate networking, collaboration with academics from other universities, and research dissemination through conferences. These partnerships are essential in helping to build networks that foster 1) the creation of new and multidisciplinary research projects and 2) publication outputs through journal articles, books and others. 

Research costs are ad hoc expenses that often emerge through a candidate’s journey, for which budgets seldom allow.