The Department of Environmental & Geographical Science (EGS) at the University of Cape Town was established in 1984 following a merger between the Department of Geography and the School of Environmental Studies. The department, the largest of its kind in South Africa, is academically engaged in a wide range of sub‐disciplinary teaching, research and outreach activities with a focus in three academic teaching and research themes: Earth System Science, Human Geography and Environment and Sustainability.

In January 2013, a Research Chair focused on Social and Environmental Dimensions of the Bioeconomy was established in the Department, funded by the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation and led by Associate Professor Rachel Wynberg. The Bio‐Economy Research Chair aims to improve understanding of approaches within the bio‐economy that facilitate poverty reduction in a manner that is socially just and environmentally sustainable, and to stimulate a community of practice with regard to these approaches. The Chair has a strong focus on engagement with communities, indigenous knowledge holders, and policy‐makers, embedding within it a practice of engaged scholarship and social responsiveness.