UNIVEN’s Staff in the Directorate of Research and Innovation led by the Director of Research and Innovation, Senior Professor GE Ekosse, hosted a one-day Induction Workshop for the University’s 2021 Postdoctoral Research Fellows (PDRFs) virtually. The Workshop took place on 10 June 2021. UNIVEN currently hosts 21 PDRFs on contractual basis. The PDRFs fall under the Special Category of Academics who contribute to the UNIVEN’s Research Outputs. Institutional expectations for PDRFs demand for a satisfactory annual performance that is tied to the renewal of their contracts annually for three years and could possibly be further extended. They are hosted by Mentors who are active and/or established researchers within their Faculties, Core Business Directorates and Departments of the University.
The Executive Deans of the Faculty of Humanities, Social Science and Education, Professor Bongani Bantwini, and the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Agriculture, Professor Ntebogeng Mokgalaka, were present to welcome and encourage the PDRFs in their research undertakings. Present in this meeting were some Deans of former Schools and Mentors of PDRFs including Professor Mokgale Makgopa, Professor Takalani Mashau, and Dr Joshua Edokpayi. Amongst topics discussed during the Workshop were the institutional process of appointment of a PDRF, grant allocation and registration, compliance to human resource requirements and HEMIS reporting which were explained in a presentation done by the Research Officer, Dr Sinah Sekhula. Emphasis was made on the cooperation of the various directorates and departments (the Directorate of Research & Innovation, International Relations, Finance & Human Resource Departments, etc.) together with the Faculties of the university for the smooth operation of the Fellowship Programme. The Accounts Officer, Mr Bandile Mpukwana provided guidance to the fellows on the guidelines and procedure for payments. The Research Coordinator, Dr Nkosinathi Sotshangane made a presentation which was based on institutional expectations of a PDRF as stipulated in the guidelines for the recruitment of PDRF and the contractual obligations.
The PDRF were highly encouraged by the Director of Research and Innovation to make use of the opportunity to improve themselves, work with their mentors who will guide them as they grow in knowledge and wisdom. In addition to copyrights, the fellows were advised to venture into other forms of research outputs, which include patents, innovation and technology transfer, new processes for licensing, etc. The PDRF Programme is supported financially from grants received from various external funding agencies including the National Research Foundation (NRF), South African Medical Research Council (SA MRC), Water Research Commission (WRC), the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and internally through the Research and Publications Committee (RPC) of Senate. In addition, there are PDRFs who are supported through collaborations with other institutions of higher learning including the University of Cape Town, and University of Witwatersrand. In closing, Dr C Olaniyi proposed a vote of thanks on behalf of the PDRFs and expressed appreciation for the information which was shared by the Staff of the Directorate of Research and Innovation.
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Date: 04 July 2021