The University of Venda (UNIVEN)’s Directorate of Research and Innovation recently held the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP) Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence in Research Awards. These awards ceremony took place at 2Ten Hotel, Sibasa. The awards are meant to recognise excellent performance of academic staff members of the University of Venda. This was also to encourage researchers who have made outstanding contributions to the University’s strategic plan and strategic objectives which cater for Postgraduate Outputs, Research Publications Outputs, and promote Institutional visibility through ratings of their scholarly achievements. 

The UCDP Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence in Research Awards were for the Postgraduate Outputs for the years 2020 and 2021, Research Publications Outputs 2019-2020, and UNIVEN National Research Foundation Rated Researchers 2021 and 2022. 


Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning – Prof Jan Crafford

In his welcome message, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning, Prof Jan Crafford mentioned that he was elated by the fact that UNIVEN is awarding researchers for their contributions, during the awards ceremony once again. He mentioned that this event gives recognition to academics who go through tough times to do research that are making impact in other people’s lives. “We congratulate all academics who make sure that they produce quality throughput that make impact in everyone’s lives.” 

irector Research and Innovation – Senior Prof GE Ekosse

The Director Research and Innovation, Senior Prof GE Ekosse set the tone for the awards ceremony. Senior Prof Ekosse said UNIVEN has been awarding researchers through excellence awards since the year 2012 except for the past 3 years due to Covid-19. Prof Ekosse mentioned that these awards are comprised of activities that are internationally recognised. “We need to ensure that researchers at UNIVEN are well recognised. It is commonly said that the journey starts with the first steps, and we need to be on the right path before we make thousands of steps.” 

Senior Prof Ekosse expressed that his office will continue to work hard and smart making sure that the good works of the university’s researchers do not go in vain, and they will make sure that research and innovation continues to grow. 

Director: Technology Transfer and Innovation – Prof KS Motaung – Durban University of Technology (DUT)

In her keynote address, Director: Technology Transfer and Innovation, Prof KS Motaung from Durban University of Technology (DUT) spoke about the way universities are expected to produce relevant research that is aimed at producing results that improve the lives of community members. She emphasised that research makes impact to the socio-economic development. “We need to understand that throughout every journey, there are challenges and when you know how to deal with those challenges, then you will eventually conquer.” 

Prof Motaung mentioned that a patent can be an asset and it can also become a liability. She said every year the university pays for the license of the registration of that Intellectual Property (IP), so we need to make sure that all our patents make money for our universities. Prof Motaung urged researchers to do research that goes to the market. “Allow students to translate their research into something that can go to the market and commercialise the researched product.” 

Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni

Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni was pleased to host the UCDP Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Research and Innovation. “We restructured the University into the model that support our academics to conduct research that make impact in our communities.” Dr Nthambeleni mentioned that all UNIVEN staff exist to support the core programme which is our academic project. He emphasised that UNIVEN is currently building the culture that is precisely supporting researchers and academics. “Without researchers and academics, we won’t be having our jobs,” he said. He further emphasised that as part of UNIVEN operating model, the aim is to give essence to Research Office. “We need to ensure that our research standings are flourishing, research should make the cutting-edge impact in our communities and students.” 

Dr Nthambeleni mentioned that the University wants to make sure that it provides proper support and give essence to researchers. He mentioned that UNIVEN has the biggest cohort of staff with PhD’s and with this bigger cohort, we need to start producing a higher number of research outputs. 

He congratulated the awardees and encouraged academic staff members to always strive for the best in research. He thanked the University’s researchers for the hard work and appreciated their effort. 

University Registrar – Advocate Edward Lambani

In his vote of thanks message, the University Registrar, Advocate Edward Lambani mentioned that UNIVEN is busy engaging with municipalities for the purpose of making Thohoyandou a better town. He further congratulated awardees. Advocate Lambani urged awardees who are NRF rated to continue working hard to sustain their NRF ratings. 

Awardees posing for a photo with Senior and Executive Management 


Directorate of Research and Innovation staff members posing with some members of Senior and Executive staff members 


Attendees during the awards ceremony 


Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding & Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 /8710
Date: 10 August 2022 

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