Professor Francis Wilson taught for over thirty years in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town where he founded & for many years directed SALDRU. In 2001 he was also Director of the Data First Resource Unit (For Information Research and Scientific Training).
He authored a number of books, chapters, and articles including Labour in the South African Gold Mines (Cambridge, 1972) and, with Mamphela Ramphele, Uprooting Poverty: The South African Challenge (Cape Town &New York, 1989).
He was Chairperson of Council at the University of Fort Hare from 1990-1999 and also first Chairperson, 1996-1999, of the National Water Advisory Council. During part of 2000, 2001 and 2002 he was Visiting Professor in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University. In 2001 he became Chairperson of the International Social Science Council’s Scientific Committee of CROP, the international Comparative Research Program on Poverty.