Professor Pascal Bessong inducted into the Academy of Science of South Africa: A first for UNIVEN

Professor Pascal Bessong was on 11 October 2017 inducted into the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). According to the official release, “ASSAf has as core function to honour the country’s most outstanding scholars by electing them to Membership of the Academy. Membership of the Academy is a great honour and is in recognition of scholarly achievement. Members are the core asset of the Academy and give of their time and expertise voluntarily in the service of society.” Professor Bessong did his doctoral training in South Africa and France, and postdoctoral training in the United States. He is a Research Professor of Microbiology and Global Health, and Head of the HIV/AIDS & Global Health Research Programme, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences. His research interests include antimicrobial resistance, specifically on the burden of drug resistant HIV; markers of antibiotic resistance at the population level; and the interactions of gut microbiota, gut function, vaccine response, growth and development. Professor Bessong has trained about 40 masters and doctoral students, and published more than 120 peer reviewed scientific articles. He is a collaborator on the Global Burden of Disease project, and the South Africa lead investigator for the MAL-ED Network. On an adhoc basis he reviews research grant proposals for the Government of Hong Kong Health and Medical Research Fund; Canadian Institute for Health Research; Medical Research Council, and National Research Foundation of South Africa.

Psychological Society of South Africa (PSYSSA) nominates Professor Mashamba as Executive Member
Professor Mashamba has been nominated as an executive member of Psychological Society of South Africa during the Pan African Psychology Union which took place in September 2017 in Durban for the period 2017/2018.

She was again nominated as a member of the South African National Committee for the International Union of Psychological Sciences (IUPsyS) during a meeting in Cape Town in August 2017. Professor Mashamba did her doctoral degree in Psychology at the University of Venda and her postdoctoral Master of Science in Epidemiology in Columbia University in the United States of America. She is currently heading the Department of Psychology and is also Vice Dean of the School of Health Sciences. Her research interests include Indigenous Knowledge and Health Systems, Mental Health, HIV and AIDs, and Health Psychology. Professor Mashamba has trained students at both Masters and Doctoral levels, and has published articles in both national and international peer reviewed journals.

Honourable Minister Pandor Appoints Senior Professor GE Ekosse
The Minister of Science and Technology, the Honourable Naledi Pandor has appointed Senior Professor GE Ekosse to serve as a member of the panel for “The Review of the Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act and the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO)”. Senior Professor Ekosse is honoured of being appointed to serve on this panel and has gladly accepted the appointment. Georges-Ivo Ekosse Ekosse (PhD; DTech; FAAS) is Senior Professor of Applied Clay Mineralogy and Environmental Geology. He is a Fellow and the Immediate Past Secretary General of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) & Member of its Advisory Committee on Space, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Life Member: Geological Society of Africa (GSAf), and Association of Geoscientists for International Development (AGID); Member of Soil Science Society of Southern Africa (SSSSA), and International Association for the Study of Clays (AIPEA). He is Deputy Chairperson of the Limpopo Research Forum (LRF); and National Research Foundation (NRF) C2 rated Researcher 2007-2012, 2013-2018 with expert knowledge in Chemistry of Clay Minerals, Applied Clay Mineralogy, Environmental Geology, Environmental Health, Extraction Metallurgy, Soil Mineralogy, and Environmental Geochemistry. He has authored/co-authored over 300 publications. Senior Professor Ekosse is a leader with excellent skills and insight in exponential growth and transformation of university research, innovation and postgraduate studies.

DHET Appoints Senior Professor Ekosse as National Convener of the Ecology and Climate Change Thematic Group of BRICS Network University (BRICS NU)
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has appointed Senior Professor Ekosse as National Convener of the Ecology and Climate Change Thematic Group of BRICS Network University (BRICS NU). According to a Ministerial Statement from DHET, the aim of the BRICS NU is to facilitate cooperation and collaboration among BRICS universities for the benefit of the BRICS countries. The objectives as stated in the Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of the BRICS NU are:

  • to provide opportunity of high quality life-long learning through different forms of education such as traditional academic programmes, short-term programmes, as well as modular courses;
  • to facilitate sustainable development of the BRICS countries through creation and dissemination of the knowledge and skills via joint research and educational activities in natural and social sciences, humanities, engineering and other areas in the spirit of pluralism and diversity; and
  • to provide training for the professionals of high qualification to satisfy the needs of the BRICS countries in specific areas by expanding students’ access to contemporary methods, forms and education technologies within the frames of the implementation of the BRICS NU educational programmes.

There are six (6) thematic priority areas that are the current focus of the BRIC NU. They are: Energy; Computer Science and Information Security; Ecology and Climate Change; Water Resources and Pollution Treatment; Economics; and BRICS Studies.
Each BRICS country has its National Coordinating Committee (NCC) which oversees and coordinates the work of the Thematic Groups. The body charged with the responsibility of directing the work of the BRICS NU is the BRICS NU International Governing Board (BRICS NU 1GB) which comprises three representatives of each BRICS country as well as a representative from the Ministry of Education. Each BRICS country has up to twelve (12) universities that are formal members of the BRICS NU. The South African members are: University of Witwatersrand; Tshwane University of Technology; University of Johannesburg; University of Cape Town; Central University of Technology; Rhodes University; University of Pretoria; North West University; Stellenbosch University; Central University of Technology; Durban University of Technology; and University of Venda. All 26 South African universities should enjoy benefits of the participation of the 12 selected ones.

Issued by:
Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 27 October 2017