The University of Venda (Univen), University of the Free State (UFS), and the University of Virginia (UVa) in the United States have partnered to advance the training of South African academics in global health, through a University Staff Development Programme (USDP) award within the auspices of the United States-South Africa Higher Education Network. Global health refers to research, study, or practice aimed at improving and achieving equity in health for all, worldwide.

Programme Steering Committee members with Univen fellows in March 2019 at Univen. Front row, from left to right: Mr. Cornelius Hagenmeier: Director of Internationalisation, UFS; Mr. Mpho Magwalivha: PhD candidate, Univen; Professor Natasha Potgieter: Dean, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Univen; Ms. Tirhani Masia: PhD candidate, Univen; Professor Corli Witthuhn: Vice-Rector: Research, UFS; Professor Gert van Zyl: Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, UFS.
Back row from the left to right: Professor Pascal Bessong: Director, HIV/AIDS &Global Health Research Programme, Univen; Mr Emanuel Mzwakhe Nyathi: PhD candidate, Univen; Ms. Netshiheni Rinah: PhD candidate, Univen; Ms. Julia Mafumo: PhD candidate, Univen.

This came after the Department of Higher Education and Training established the University Staff Development Programme (USDP) with the aim of enhancing the doctoral pipeline and strengthening the relationship between higher education institutions of South Africa and the United States.

The current Univen-UFS-UVa training initiative is intended to mentor, over a period of three years, faculty for leadership in global health research. The cohort of fellows comprises five academics from Univen and five from UFS, selected through a screening and interview process. The training cohort comprises individuals from different academic disciplines such as microbiology, medicine, nursing, public health, nutrition, and food technology.

Fellows will have measured support in research operational cost and a supervisory team. Mentoring forums available to the fellows include specialized and targeted hands-on workshops on scientific writing, ethical and responsible conduct of research, and data quality, integrity and management.

This Univen-UFS-UVa initiative is coordinated by Professor Pascal Bessong, for Univen (, Professor Gert Van Zyl ( and Mr. Cornelius Hagenmeier ( for UFS, and Professor Rebecca Dillingham ( for UVa.

Issued by:
Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 23 May 2019

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