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University of Venda (UNIVEN) staff in the Directorate of Research and Innovation (DRI) working on University Capacity Development Grant (UCDG) steered an official visit to three universities in Botswana to foster collaborations and networking. The three universities which were visited are: Botho University (BU), University of Botswana (UB), and Botswana International University of Science & Technology (BIUST). The visit was carried out from 01 – 09 February 2019. The UNIVEN delegation was led by the Director Research and Innovation, Senior Professor GE Ekosse; and consisted of the Research Administration Coordinator, Mrs NJ Sigama; Accounts Officer, Mr B Mpukwana; Administrative Officer, Ms A Raphalalani; Accounts Officer (Intern), Ms M Ladzani, and Dr NN Bukalo who is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on clays and clay minerals in Africa.

UNIVEN delegation with staff of Botho University, Botswana

The focus of the visit was to explore potential collaboration and networking areas between UNIVEN and the three universities in Botswana Viz: BU, BIUST and UB. The scope of coverage for collaborations and networking during the trip to Botswana included capacity development of researchers, recognition of excellence in research, UNIVEN research priorities, and effective and efficient management of research projects.

UNIVEN delegation with Professor Peter Mbati at Botho University

The focus of the visit was to explore potential collaboration and networking areas between BU and UNIVEN, UB and UNIVEN, and BIUST and UNIVEN. The scope of coverage for collaborations and networking during the trip to Botswana included capacity development of researchers, recognition of excellence in research, UNIVEN research priorities, and effective and efficient management of research projects. The UNIVEN Director Research and Innovation, Senior Professor GE Ekosse, also gave two public lectures to two of the three universities, and he spoke on: Learning from Research Giants of Yesteryears. In the presentation, Senior Professor Ekosse took a cursory look at selected research giants of yesteryears whose research findings have very significantly impacted the world. Special recognition was made of the works and characters of Isaac Newton, George Washington Carver, Alexander Graham Bell, Alfred Nobel, Thomas Edison, Marie Sklodowska-Curie, Albert Einstein, Jane Wright, Maya Angelou, and Gladys West amongst others. Lessons learnt from these giants such as hard work, persistence, being focus-driven, effective time management, resilience, and perpetual great expectations, depict integral attributes for outstanding research leaders to anchor on. Benefits derived from excellent research leadership include earning respect, honour, self-actualisation, immortalisation, excellent legacy impact on developing researchers, and the propounding of knowledge for the betterment of humankind must be considered by promising researchers who would like to advance their career growth and development. The researchers in the audience were uniquely challenged not to allow political, socio-economical, and cultural inhibitors to play down on their abilities to generate and disseminate their research findings.

Senior Professor GE Ekosse giving a Public Lecture at BIUST

UNIVEN Delegation with Staff of UB Research Development

UNIVEN Delegation visiting laboratory facilities at BIUST

During the visit, Senior Professor Ekosse, Dr Bukalo, and Ms Raphalalani carried out extensive reconnaissance fieldwork to better understand the kaolinisation processes of three geologically significant kaolin deposits in Botswana. These are the Kgwakgwe, Makoro and Foley deposits. The Vice-Chancellor of BIUST provided ground transportation for staff throughout the trip, and in particular a 4X4 vehicle, a driver and guide during the fieldwork.

Senior Professor Ekosse, Dr Bukalo, Ms Raphalalani, & guide at Foley Kaolin deposit Outcomes agreed upon by the parties concerned that will promote research in the region include the following:

– Joint grant proposals, supervision/promotion and students/staff exchanges should be regularly carried out;
– Collaborations between similar faculties/schools/directorates/centres from UNIVEN and the Botswana universities should be perpetually executed;
– Memoranda of Understanding will be established between universities where there is none, or reestablished if already existing; and
– A regional research leadership workshop, which will involve the four universities and other universities in the region will be organised in the last quarter of 2019.

Issued by:
Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 26 March 2019

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