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23 October 2018
Research Week 2018: Engaged Research Changes The Lives - And The World

(Published - 23 October 2018)

“Good research is good for all of us, as a society. When we perform the hard work needed to produce new knowledge - and the equally tough work needed to place older ideas in a new light - we can use our knowledge to produce new techniques, products, and technologies that improve our world.”

So says Professor José Frantz, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), who is hosting the second annual UWC Research Week Conference from 23 to 26 October 2018. Research Week is a chance to celebrate, discuss, and explore the diverse ideas and collaborations involved in research at UWC and beyond.

“It’s a great honour for me to welcome one and all to Research Week 2018,” Prof Frantz says. “There is much about our University that is positive and powerful - not just research in the sciences and technology, but also in the arts and humanities, which offer us an opportunity for making sense of our world.”

Researchers from across the University are using the week to discuss their work, tackling topics from community engagement and open access publishing to technology transfer and intellectual property. They will also showcase the importance of research in all facets of life.

The following themes will be discussed during the week:

  • Day 1: Research, innovation and impact through food, politics and culture
  • Day 2: UWC’s research, innovation and the impact on community
  • Day 3: Faculty Deputy Deans research overviews; students research presentations and the 3 Minute Thesis competition
  • Day 4: Library in the digital age and DVC awardees research presentations.

“As we promote research and innovation at UWC and position the institution as a research intensive teaching and learning university, we endeavour to build research scholars from the emerging researchers as postgraduate students to establish researchers in the form of SARChI chairs,” shares Professor Frantz.

Several of UWC’s 17 SARChI Chairs will be contributing to Research Week, including:

  • Professor Rinie Schenck, SARChI Chair for Waste and Society, who will be presenting on waste pickers in South Africa and the transformation of the waste economy;
  • Professor Alan Christoffels, director of the South African National Bioinformatics Institute and the SARChI Chair in Bioinformatics and Human Health Genomics, who will discuss the impact of a lifeskills kit to turn learners into health activists;
  • Dr Stephen Devereaux, SARChI Chair in Social Protection for Food Security, who will be presenting on the paradox of food security in South Africa; and
  • Professor Emmanuel Iwuoha, SARChI Chair for NanoElectrochemistry and Sensor Technology, who will discuss NanoElectrochemistry and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Systems

Research Week is aimed at the development of society - it is an opportunity to celebrate and explore diverse ideas and collaborations at the University.

“As we enjoy interesting talks about new technologies and ways of understanding the world, it’s good to remember the role of universities in society,” notes Prof Frantz. “Not just to help produce the students who will change the world, but also to produce the new ideas that will help them solve challenges across borders.”

There will also be book sales, film screenings, exhibitions, lunch - and prizes to be won.