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Research Week 2017: Research Innovation Indaba Celebrates Excellence

Author: Institutional Advancement: Asiphe Nombewu

UWC’s Inaugural Research Indaba and Showcase Week 2017 was a chance to celebrate the wide diversity of ideas and collaborations happening at the University of the Western Cape.

Research and Innovation Indaba gives Researcher direction

UWC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor José Frantz, hosted the first Research Indaba and Showcase week at the School of Public Health from 4-7 September 2017 where she invited UWC Researchers to showcase their work. The Indaba was an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of research and how it is used in all facets of life. 

The Research Indaba and Showcase Week thus celebrated the diverse ideas and collaborations happening at UWC from early career researcher to established researcher and thus provided an opportunity for a campus-wide discussion on how to elevate the research and innovation support of the university. 

Prizes were awarded to those who presented their work and took part in the discussions, which were facilitated by the Research Director at UWC, Professor Thandi Mgwebi, and her research team at the Research Office.

As an engaged university, learners from schools in the surrounding communities and their teachers were also invited to be part of this campus-wide discussion on research, during which they received an understanding of what it means to be a researcher.

Speakers at the Indaba included Dr Phil Mjwara, Director General from the Department of Science and Technology, who spoke about the National Research and Development strategy which was developed in 2002 and the resulting innovation planner which emerged in 2008 as well as the need to revisit the strategy and plan for the next period.

Dr Mjwara said these documents have helped the communities to get a sense of where government wants to go, “We had a very productive and old group of researchers and wanted to develop new researchers. We worked tirelessly with universities to try and get young researchers to join the system. We also needed to make sure that we identified some areas to accelerate the work of government in order to address some of the challenges our country is faced with.”

Mr Richard Gordon, Executive Director of the Grants, Innovation and Product Development Groups at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), spoke about the MRC Research Strategy and the NRF’s Strategic Vision and Catalytic Approach.

Researchers had an opportunity to ask questions pertaining to the NRF grants available to them, and how they can go about applying.

At the end of the four days, participants were rewarded and the awards ceremony was facilitated by Professor Thandi Mgwebi, with the help of Director at the Technology Transfer Office, Dr Janine Chanston. 

Winners included, Emmanuel Tuyishimire, a Computer Science Researcher, who walked away with the first prize of R10 000 and a tablet for his research on Cooperative data muling using a team of unmanned aerial vehicles in the category for Poster Presentation.

From the Faculty of Community Health Sciences, Fernando Mukumbang walked away with the first prize for his How and why the adherence club intervention in the Western Province research in the oral presentations category.

Sponsors for this research week included Elsevier and the Innovation Hub.

In closing, Professor Thandi Mgwebi said UWC has positioned itself to be a research-led teaching University - which has recently joined the league of big players in the higher education sector - and said it had been an interesting week of talks touching on topics that included the decolonization of research and gender in research.​

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