The three-day conference, hosted online in April by the University of Pretoria and the University of Uppsala, was themed: “Internationalisation of the PhD: from possibilities if today to challenges of the future.”
It involved discussions on core aspects of doctoral studies, with speakers from various sectors including the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. Participating PhD students from seven South African and five European universities were challenged on the final day to showcase their research with either a three-minute presentation or a scientific poster.
Tihana Nathen, a doctoral candidate and an emerging researcher in UWC’s Department of Anthropology, won first place for her three-minute presentation on her research of everyday plant practices that involve kruie and herbalists.
Of the YEBO! Project, Nathen said: “It’s important because it opens possibilities of international networks for researchers and doctoral candidates.”
She explained that her thesis pays particular attention to the vegetal lives of kruie. “The doctoral thesis will comment on how Rastafarians understand what it means to be, or become, a herbalist/bush doctor.”
Mandilakhe Naku, a PhD candidate in the Department of Biotechnology, won third place for his scientific poster entitled: “The effect of drought on nutrient acquisition in two contrasting cowpea accessions.”
The YEBO! Project was funded by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Commission. It aimed to strengthen the internationalisation of PhD studies, in recognition of the critical role academic studies play in driving innovation. UWC was one of seven South African universities to take part in the three-and-a-half-year project.
One of the outcomes of the project is the PhD Portal, with information on funding opportunities for doctoral studies, useful material from the project’s training activities and events.