The Council on Higher Education Vital Stats Report (CHE, 2016) provides unequivocal evidence as to the unevenness of the South African HE terrain. The overall trend indicates that throughput rates continue to range between 30–40%, an alarming statistic that worsens for advanced research degrees (Masters and PhD). The dropout rate is the highest amongst African students, with historically disadvantaged institutions (HDIs) the most affected. African academics still constitute the lowest percentage of PhD qualified staff. In addressing how the nation might advance its research agenda, a somewhat cynical recommendation of the ASSAF Report was that those institutions with established track records should be strengthened (ASSAF, 2010). Of concern was the relative silence on how the research capacity of struggling institutions might be addressed.