On Tuesday, 01 and Wednesday, 02 February 2022, the University of Venda’s International Relations and Partnerships (IRP) Directorate hosted a workshop on Integrating Health Approaches and the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus and the Erasmus+ 2022 call for Proposals. This workshop was held at Southern Sun Hotel in Pretoria. 

Attendees and Presenters of the workshop posing for a group photo on day one outside the conference hall where the workshop was taking place

The objectives of this workshop were to assist in achieving strategic objectives 3, 5, 8, 11 and 15 of the University’s Strategic Plan 2021-2025. In particular, this workshop served the following purposes: To promote the Integrating Health Approaches and the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus’ in the NWO/NRF call; to share information about a virtual information and matchmaking event that took place on the 3rd of February 2022 for potential applicants and interested partners; promote the Erasmus+ 2022 call – which covers nine (9) areas of action open for international cooperation; to discuss possible partnerships and consortia for applying to the calls and to develop timelines for applications and submissions to the calls. 

Acting Director International Relations and Partnerships, Dr Segun Obadire

In his opening and welcome message, the Acting Director International Relations and Partnerships, Dr Segun Obadire indicated that there is a need to move ahead from where we are. “It is now the time for us to make impact in our communities with these research projects.” Dr Obadire told attendees that there is a need to come up with research proposals that will assist the students who will in turn also make positive impact in the communities where they come from. “Let us not do research for the sake of research and funding, research should be aimed at improving the lives of other people.” He encouraged participants to continuously apply for grants and identify Memorandums of Understanding that are in line with their fields. He concluded by mentioning that the International Relations Directorate is available to assist those who need the support. 

UNIVEN’s Partnership Officer: International Relations and Partnership, Mr Thabo Dikgale

UNIVEN’s Partnership Officer: International Relations and Partnership, Mr Thabo Dikgale highlighted that for a university to be globally competitive, that University should first position itself in good standing locally. He said a university should not operate in a vacuum, there should be mechanisms on how to make greater impact in its local communities. “We need to start drafting our own research agendas. When we engage in research projects, we need to ask ourselves about the benefits for our country, surrounding communities and the University itself.” 

Research Coordinator at the Directorate of Research and Innovation, Dr Nkosinathi Sotshangane presented about positioning UNIVEN for Impact. In his presentation and amongst other things, Dr Sotshangane reflected on matters relating to the UNIVEN Intellectual Property Policy and processes of getting research proposals funded. He said this year (academic year 2022) marks the second year of the implementation of the university’s strategic plan 2021-2025 which largely seeks to rejuvenate and position the university for impact and relevance. 

Dr Luxon Nhamo from Water Research Commission (WRC) presented on Achieving environmental and human health needs and resource security and sustainability at the national level through nexus planning. He said last year alone he has produced 26 publications related to nexus planning. He further presented about options to achieve sustainability by 2030; post-covid-19: how people should prepare and get ready for the new normal. 

Mr Teuns Phahlamohlaka who is the Professional Officer: KFD Knowledge Advancement and support at the National Research Foundation (NRF) presented about the call text and requirements where he highlighted that the applications should be aligned to national research agendas, as well as international initiatives. “This is to build and connect knowledge to increase the (socio-economic) impact of research. He said collaborations aim to further stimulate long term research collaboration between South Africa and the Nederland by funding interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary research consortia semi-public and private organisations.” 

Mr Stephen Dlamini, Professional Officer: Grants Management and Systems Administration (GMSA) at NRF presented about grant application procedures. In his presentation, he explained the process of application until the application gets approved or rejected. Mr Dlamini indicated that universities need to have their own internal closing dates for review of the applications before they submit to NRF. He said this date should be before the actual NRF closing date to allow coordinators and administrators to administer and check if all documents are in place before submissions could be made to the NRF. 

Professional Officer Reviews and Evaluations at NRF, Ms Leana Meiring presented on NRF Reviews and Evaluations. Amongst other things, Ms Meiring indicated the assessment procedure for the proposals. Ms Meiring encouraged applicants to adhere to the call guidelines. 

The Acting Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof Tshilidzi Mulaudzi encouraged staff members, particularly researchers to fully participate in this programme because there are lot of benefits in it. Prof Mulaudzi indicated that UNIVEN had the requisite human capabilities to successfully compete for these opportunities. 

Jozet Muller who is the Programme Manager: Higher Education and Governance Delegation of European Union to South Africa presented about the Erasmus+ 2022 Call Actions. In her presentation, she highlighted areas of international cooperation in the Erasmus+ 2021-2027 call. She outlined opportunities in the following areas; international credit mobility; Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters (EMJM); Erasmus Mundus Design Measures (EMDM); Capacity building for higher education and Jean Monnet activities. 

In her vote of thanks , Prof Ndileleni Mudzielwana from the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education indicated that she wishes that the University could organise these kinds of workshops more often because academic staff members, more especially researchers learn a lot from them in terms of community engagement, self-development, research proposal funding and writing winning research proposals. “We need to start publishing more often for us to place the university back to its original position in the research rankings.” She said in order to win, staff members need to work as a team. “For us to see progress, all team members need to fully participate. It is your efforts which will lead us to success.” 

Attendees and Presenters of the workshop posing for a group photo on day two outside the conference hall where the workshop was taking place

Issued by: 

Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8525 

Date: 12 February 2022 

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