The research and development Directorate was established in 2000. This was followed by the development of the Research and Development Policy in 2001 which was amended in 2005. The implementation of the research policy has been able to establish a small critical mass of researchers who are participating in research in various disciplines. The University has internal funding for research projects, conference attendance and to defray publication costs.Some of our researchers manage externally funded research projects and others do consultancy work for Local / Provincial government departments and other stakeholders. The university has research collaborations with many research institutions nationally and internationally.
The University has currently eight research niche areas. It also provides funding for research projects in non-niche areas and supports its researchers and post graduate students to attend international conferences. The university introduced in 2008 a recognition and award system to incentivize active researchers.
Research Linkages, Collaboration and Partnerships
Univen supports research linkages and partnerships. Univen has linkages and collaborations with other Universities nationally and internationally and also partners with other entities such as government departments, NGO's, private sector and industry. Strong research partnership exists currently with the Limpopo provincial Government through the Limpopo Research Forum and the Limpopo Integrated Innovation Forum which bring together managers of research and developers of technologies in the Provincial tertiary institutions, Provincial government departments, private sector, NGOs and industry. The fora look into various aspects that will avoid duplication and promote excellent multidisciplinary research and innovation in the province.
Univen receives research grants from various national and international bodies: research has been funded by various government departments and foundations/science councils/units. International support has been received from a number of organizations/commissions in various countries such as, Australia, USA, Netherlands, Norway and the European Commission.
University of Venda funds research projects, attendance of international conference as well as meeting publication costs of journal papers in DoHET accredited journals.
Professor Georges-Ivo Ekosse Ekosse is Director: Research & Innovation, and Professor of Applied Clay Mineralogy and Environmental Geology. Before joining University of Venda, he was the Director: Research Development at Walter Sisulu University for over four years. Prior to that, Georges-Ivo was Professor and Co-ordinator of Geology, Mining and Minerals Programs at University of Limpopo; and before then Scientist in charge of the X-ray Diffraction Unit, University of Botswana where he equally served as chief resource person of the Faculty of Science for initiating new laboratories, acquisition and installation of new high tech equipment. As Visiting Research Associate, Clay Minerals Research Laboratory, Indiana University, USA, he specialized on various laboratory analytical techniques in evaluating clays and clay minerals for different industrial applications, and equally served as Academic Tutor, Afro-American Tutorial Program. He has also worked at the Institute of Zootechnical Research, Cameroon and taught in high schools in Cameroon and Senegal.
Professor Ekosse's academic, professional and awards credentials include Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Soil Mineralogy, Doctor of Technology (D.Tech) and Master of Technology (M.Tech) in Environmental Health, Master of Technology (M.Tech) in Extraction Metallurgy, Postgraduate Diploma in Geological Sciences, Higher Diploma in Applied Chemistry, and Certificates in Strategic Management, Project Management, and Governance, Risks & Ethics. He obtained his first National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa rating in 2007, and remains a C2 Rated Established Researcher till 2018; Fellow and Member of the Governing Council of the African Academy of Science (FAAS), as well as Member of the Academy's Membership Committee for Earth and Environmental Sciences; and Fellow of the Institute of Science Technology (FIScT), England. He is also Member and Member of the Scientific Committee: International Academy of Environmental Sciences (IAES). Georges-Ivo is Life Member: Geological Society of Africa (GSAf), and Association of Geoscientists for International Development (AGID); Member: Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM); Soil Science Society of South Africa (SSSSA); International Association for the Study of Clays (AIPEA), and International Medical Geology Association (MIMGA). Professor Ekosse is the Executive Editor of Discovery & Innovation (Official Journal of the African Academy of Sciences and the Developing World Academy of Sciences), and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management (JASEM). He has also reviewed several manuscripts for publication in more than 15 scientific journals. He received the Best Poster Prize at the 2010 International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) Conference; shared the Wirsam Tescan Prize of Microscopy Society of Southern Africa (MSSA) in 2003; received the Ron Jenkins Award (USA) for Workshops on Fundamentals of, and Advanced Methods in, X-ray Powder Diffraction, International Center for Diffraction Data, USA, 2003; granted ESKOM Development Foundation Award for 15th International Congress on Electron Microscopy (ICEM), Durban, South Africa, 2002; got 1996/1997 Briscoe Scientific Award (UK) Institute of Science Technology, England; and 1992 Indiana Black Expo (IBE) Award for Academic Excellence, USA.
He has been principal convener of several international short courses and conferences including Laboratory Management Techniques for Senior and Middle Levels Personnel of Teaching and Research Laboratories in Southern African Development Community (SADC); UNESCO-ANSTI/ROSTA Workshop on Maintenance of Science Laboratory Equipment in Developing Countries; Commonwealth Regional Courses on Pollution Control and Environmental Management; and Waste Management in Developing Countries; and Pollution Control Awareness Course designated under National Environmental Planning Program for Botswana. He gives academic assistance and supervises postgraduate projects. He has either independently or collaboratively successfully managed several research grants, and is currently Research Project Leader of UNESCO/IUGS/IGCP 545 Project on Clays and Clay Minerals in Africa; and the leader for NRF ULD 63583 Project on Human and Enzootic Geophagia in Southern Africa (http://www.claymineralsafrica.co.za/). He collaborates with a number of universities, research institutions and industries in Africa, Canada, Europe and USA. His scientific achievements in knowledge advancement covers soil science, geology, mining, minerals, environmental and human health, and environmental sciences; and has initiated pioneer research embodying several aspects of mineralogy, mining and the biophysical environment researching and publishing on soils, clays and clay minerals, ore bodies, rocks and minerals, tailings dump, flora and fauna, and human health from Botswana, Cameroon, Lesotho, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland and USA culminating in publications featuring in local, regional and international journals of high academic repute. He has authored/co-authored over 240 publications which include 121 refereed journal articles.
The vision and mission of the Research and Innovation Directorate of the University of Venda are guided by the new Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997) which identifies research as one of the core functions of any tertiary institution.
The Vision is "Elevating basic and applied research to excellence at the University of Venda".
Our Mission is to be the engine that drives critical, innovative and relevant research for the pursuit of knowledge and for development of local, national and regional communities.
This articulation of our vision and mission enables us to stress:
The importance of both basic and applied research at the university;
The importance of knowledge and development of local, national and regional communities through collaborative research.
The need to develop future researchers through emphasizing research and innovation at Postgraduate level.
The overall management and promotion of research at the University of Venda is the responsibility of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic . He or she discharges this responsibility through the Director of Research and Innovation, the school Deans and the Research and Publication Committee, which is a committee of Senate.
Notes on the Structure: Membership of Committees
Senate's Research and Publications Committee
Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic: Chairperson
Director of Research and Innovation
Director of Library Services
One Representative per school at the level of Senior Lecturer or Professor
School's Research and Publications Committee
Two Representatives of the School Executive Board
Two Senior Lecturers
One Junior lecturer
The current administrative structure of the Research and Innovation Directorate is as follows The Director reports to the DVC Academic and is supported by the Research Administrator and Executive Secretary. The Directorate of Research and Innovation is responsible for the administrative function for all research related matters: capacity building, research output, collaboration /partnerships and resource mobilization.
In order to facilitate support and ensure a quality standard in research the Directorate is supported by the following Committees:
University Research and Publications Committee (RPC)
School Research and Publications Committees
School Higher Degrees Committees
Community Engagement Committee
Centre for Rural development and Poverty Alleviation
The Directorate is a unit within the Academic division along with community engagement directorate, Library services, Schools and Center for Higher Education Teaching and Learning. This arrangement facilitates coherence in the implementation of the core business of the University.
Furthermore, the director is a member of all Senate committees. The directorate is responsible for the implementation of research and innovation policy, for resource allocation and to assist and support researchers with external resource mobilization. The Director is responsible for strategic issues such as focusing more on policy and advocacy, interact with high level policy makers and government officials /stakeholders, be ambassador and stimulate information flow between Univen researchers and research partners and funders (provincially, nationally and internationally). The administrative structure for the directorate will be strengthened to fulfill functions for postgraduate research support, project writing technical expertise for various organizations, research linkages and provision of information, and other support that researchers need.
The University of Venda in 2007 identified the main research focus area as Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Rural Development. From its outset Univen has focused on serving the rural community and SADC region. It has broadened its activity by adopting a broad strategy and new niche areas listed below:
"Developing and Managing Farming and Agro forestry System for Improved Livelihood and Food Security in Rural Communities".
"Integrated Environmental Management, Settlement and Energy for Sustainable Development".
"Combating Poverty and Illiteracy and Promotion of Gender Equality and Socio Economic Rights".
"Indigenous Knowledge System".
"Socio-Economic and Health Related Aspects of HIV and AIDS".
"Water Research for Improved Quality of Life."
"Investigating Maternal, Child, Youth and Women Health, Investing in Youth and Reversing the Trends."
"Entrepreneurship, Micro-finance, Innovation and Management of Human, financial and Heritage Resources to Bridge the gap between the First and Second Economy in South Africa".
Keeping in mind the country's social and developmental imperatives, multidisciplinary research will be aligned to our vision of elevating basic and applied research to excellence at the University of Venda and our mission of being the engine that drives critical innovative and relevant research for the pursuit of knowledge and for development of local, national and international communities. This will be made possible through our targeted niche areas as well as our policy on research linkages, collaboration and partnerships.