On 27 and 28 June 2022, the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture held the Faculty Research celebration at the University’s Research Conference Centre. The purpose of the event was to showcase and celebrate research diversity within the faculty. The event had several poster and oral presentations from staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students on several research themes which included (1)Climate change, energy, agriculture and food security; (2)One Health research; (3) Natural products and Material Sciences; (4) Spatial planning, land management or rural development; (4) Biodiversity, Conservation, or ecosystem services; (5) Mathematical modelling or data sciences [including engineering innovations]; and (6) Environmental monitoring or waste management.
The Executive Dean of the Faculty, Prof Ntebogeng Mokgalaka-Fleischmann, welcomed everybody and said the purpose of this Faculty Research celebration was to elevate awareness and appreciate the University’s research endeavours across departments, niche and focus areas; to foster the exchange of knowledge information and the cross fertilisation of ideas and to encourage the development of multidisciplinary efforts. Prof Mokgalaka mentioned that it is through events like this where the faculty seeks to foster and encourage multidisciplinary efforts. She gave a brief background of the faculty where she mentioned that researchers and the research that is taking place in the faculty are of highest quality and on equal footing to researchers from other Universities.
In the Official Opening, Senior Prof George’s Ekosse described Prof Mokgalaka as someone who has built her career from scratch to where she is now. He challenged female attendees and researchers to use Prof Mokgalaka as an example and a mentor. Senior Prof Ekosse mentioned that the researchers in this Faculty also need to look at the research output for the University. When talking about technology transfer, he said most university patents are coming from the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture. He encouraged postgraduate students to register their profiles on NRF platforms because these platforms will give them exposure and recognition. He concluded by saying: “We need to see beyond NRF, we need to make sure that our research makes impact in our country and internationally. Let your research work speak for you”.
As the Keynote Speaker on the first day, Prof Akebe Luther King Abia from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, presented on the title, “Antibiotic resistance and one health: implication for sustainable development in South Africa”. He presented about several studies that he conducted which were aimed at finding solutions to antibiotic resistance in Sub-Saharan African countries. He said there is a lot of infections that could take place if we expose ourselves to polluted water. We are drinking water that is mostly abstracted from rivers and dams and these rivers are polluted. Prof Akebe said resistance in bacteria threaten long-term food security especially in food animal production. The country and the world need the solutions to this challenge. Most conventional sewage treatment options do not remove antibiotics from the water, and this is a serious challenge.
Poster sessions during the lunch and teatime breaks provided opportunity for interaction between the researchers and interested individuals. Several industrial companies, like Labex, Inquaba, United Scientific, Labotec and Separations were also present to showcase laboratory equipment and talk to the students and staff concerning new techniques. The two-day event was very successful and it gave young future scientists an opportunity to learn from each other and present their own results to their peers.
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525 / 8710
Date: 30 June 2022