Staff of the Directorate of Research and Innovation had a retreat which took place from 30 October to 02 November 2019 at Swadini Forever Resort. The purpose of the retreat was for the staff in the Directorate to take stock of its 2019 activities in line with UNIVEN’s current strategic objective on Advancing the Research and Innovation Mandate; and further align the activities of the Directorate with the new strategic thrusts that are being proposed for UNIVEN. The four new strategic thrusts discussed are: Student Centeredness and Engaged Scholarship; Entrepreneurial University; Governance for Outstanding Scholarship; and Linkages, Partnerships and Internationalisation.
On the second day, discussions were held on the Vision, Mission and Values of UNIVEN and those of the Directorate of Research and Innovation. This was followed by an appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses presently existing in the Directorate, and suggestions of improvement where applicable as way a forward. Some of the strengths discussed include:
Sourcing funds for research for internal stakeholders from Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO), National Research Foundation (NRF), Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) among others, and making the funds available for research and innovation activities;
The Directorate continues to play a major pivotal role in human capacity development of UNIVEN researchers through allocation of research grants, conference and workshop participation; article writing retreats, mentoring sessions, research open day, research indaba, honours and postgraduate students gathering, research and intellectual property stakeholders’ day; and;
Staff in the Directorate have diverse disciplinary, administrative and managerial skills which bring to bear excellent services being rendered to its stakeholders.
Staff belaboured on the fact that UNIVEN has not been able to forge very strong ties with surrounding industries; and the low-level innovative systems within the university but was quick to acknowledge growing improvement; albeit at a slow rate. The effective implementation of performance information management in place would encourage staff to bolster their expected deliverables.
Other matters of deliberations included staff performance information management, 2020 Academic Year Plan; and organogram and future expansion of operational scope and workings of the Directorate. In rounding up the retreat, staff in the Directorate appreciate the efforts of executive and senior management in creating an enabling environment for the realization of UNIVEN’s Research and Innovation mandate.
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University of Venda
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Date: 06 November 2019