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University Equipment Committee (UEC)

The purpose of the University Equipment Committee (UEC) is to consider applications that help faculties and departments to acquire large items of equipment for research.


UEC definition of ’equipment’

The UEC understanding of ‘equipment’ is consistent with the common understanding of this term and observes these criteria:

  • It may be defined as a facility or system (with coherent parts) that provides some experimental, analytical, processing, testing, measurement or recording capability, for research purposes.
  • it is a stand-alone facility that is not permanently attached to or integrated into a building structure.

Composition of the UEC

  • the vice-chancellor (ex officio) • the deputy vice-chancellors (ex officio)
  • the chair (see below)
  • the executive director: communication & development or nominee
  • the deans of the six faculties or their nominees
  • the dean of CHED or nominee
  • the representative from the Core Equipment Facility (co-opted)


Overview of UEC procedures

The role of the UEC

  • The UEC will:
    • interact closely with faculties to ensure that they manage their equipment needs properly; the committee will also encourage faculties to ensure that expenditure on equipment follows the university's overall objectives in this regard
    • create opportunities for transfer of equipment between faculties, sharing of equipment and seeking opportunities for rationalisation, where possible.
    • represent the university on the Regional Expensive Equipment Programme (REEP)
    • ensure that proper procedures are established to provide for the needs of the university
    • provide the finance director with information s/he needs to establish proper repayment policies.
  • The chair of the committee is responsible for ensuring that policy decisions of the committee are consistent with those of the University Research Committee (URC) because equipment and research needs are complementary to each other.

New equipment

  • The committee will work with deans to provide equipment for new academic buildings and new departments. This includes the provision of new equipment to satisfy a change in the function of an existing department or a change in research direction.
  • The committee will submit applications on behalf of the university to the Equipment committee of the National Research Foundation (NRF).

Equipment maintenance and repairs

  • The committee will control the provision of funds for unusually expensive repairs to equipment that are beyond the capacity of a faculty budget.
  • The committee will control the provision and maintenance of audio-visual equipment (subject to compliance with the UEC equipment definition – see description above).

Faculty equipment representative

  • The committee will, whenever requested, advise deans regarding their equipment requirements. All correspondence regarding equipment matters, whether with individual academics or departments, will be conducted through the faculty equipment representative.

Equipment needs consistent with departmental and faculty needs

  • The committee will provide the finance director with information necessary to ensure that funds awarded to faculties for equipment are consistent with the overall objectives and strategies of the UEC.
  • The approval of the chair of the committee is required before deans apply to the finance director for permission to use earmarked equipment funds for other purposes.


  • The annual report by the committee is submitted to the chair of the URC and outlines the work done by the UEC in that year.
  • In this report, the UEC reports on what it has achieved relative to the agreed goals and objectives of the committee and to its agreed purpose; it holds itself accountable in that its report places the URC chair in the position to judge how well the committee has performed.


Summary of inclusion and exclusion criteria

Inclusion criteria

  • large single unit expensive conventional equipment items e.g. scanning electron microscope, spectrophotometer, tensile testing machine
  • coherent agglomerations of (usually electronically dependent) equipment devices that make up a cohesive facility e.g. TV recording studio, several computers or microscopes in a micro-lab (but not a single computer), language laboratory or moot court (in view of its video conferencing capability), film and new media studio.

Hiring out equipment

  • conventional equipment or cohesive agglomerated equipment facilities may also be regarded as being available (‘for hire‘) to others, particularly for research purposes, by research colleagues, other departments or universities or even others from the wider community (including industry and the public)
  • when calculating costs of hiring out the equipment, the costs of maintenance and depreciation must be taken into account.

Exclusion criteria

  • books and book collections
  • vehicles in the car scheme (please note: departmental vehicles for e.g. botany field trips, or geomatics survey camps, are considered part of the institution’s infrastructure, rather than equipment. The UEC is not responsible for the upkeep or purchase of the university’s infrastructure)
  • physical buildings and their associated heating and/or air-conditioning
  • office furniture (including photocopiers etc.)
  • conventional classroom teaching facilities (overhead projectors, data projectors) where these fall under the Classroom Facilities Unit.

Questions or queries?

Please contact the Research Office (Natalie le Roux: natalie.leroux@uct.ac.za)