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Tshwane University of Technology

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The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has taken the lead in the University of Technology (UoT) sector in the country with the highest number of Research Chairs – a total of ten. This follows the National Research Foundation (NRF) recently awarding the University the right to host six new Research Chairs under the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChl). 

The Faculty of Science received three new Chairs, Acid Mine Drainage Treatment, Water Quality & Wastewater Management, and Phytomedicine. The others are: Technology, Sustainable Enterprises & Markets Development (Faculty of Management Sciences), Enabled Environment for Assisted Living and Energy Production & Consumption for Sustainable Global Survival (faculty of Engineering). Professors are not yet allocated to the Chairs.

“These Chairs will undoubtedly ensure that TUT maintains its position as the leading UoT in South Africa,” says Dr Prins Nevhutalu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Partnerships). “Policy coherence, research time, effective research support, funding support and incentives to encourage research excellence all form part of this enabling environment.”

“The fact that TUT has managed to double its publication output units over the last six years is a testimony of the success of the pro-active initiatives instituted,” Dr Nevhutalu adds. “In 2005, the institution generated 76.38 publication units. This number has since grown to 123.65 in 2010 and 192.86 units in 2011. Similarly the number of NRF-ratings for scholars increased from 18 in 2005 to 33 in 2011.”

Dr Mandla Msibi, Manager of Research and Innovation, shares in the excitement. “It means that prominent researchers can be appointed in these Chairs, which are funded from the grants awarded, to share their expertise and knowledge with the TUT community.”

Dr Msibi adds that the Chairs also mean a greater responsibility and recognition for the University. “One of the benefits of having SARChI chairs is that the external research income of the University can be increased at no additional human capital costs.” The grant also includes salaries of the Chairs, scholarships for postgraduate students, fellowships for postdoctoral fellows, as well as the running costs for projects that will be carried out by the chairs, and overhead costs to the University.

The Chairs’ responsibilities are to build the postgraduate capacity of the University by ensuring that the postgraduate students are adequately supervised and that they graduate within the shortest possible time allowed for a programme. They also have to assist the University in building the capacity of its staff members by offering research skills training to staff.

According to Prof Pieter Marais, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science, this achievement will go a long way in improving the image of TUT and to gain the respect from other traditional universities. “Having received so many Chairs has clearly given notice to all parties that TUT is as major role player in the field of research and it has improved our standing in the research fraternity enormously.”

“This is a significant milestone for the faculty. I am convinced that the two chairs in our faculty will further stimulate the significant growth in research and innovation outputs the faculty experienced during the past years, will contribute to solutions required to solve South Africa's energy crisis and will assist in establishing a truly enabled environment,” says Prof Ben van Wyk, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.

According to Dr Edgar Nesamvuni, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Management Science the faculty is happy about the award because it is their first and it is not common for management sciences to get such award, as they are normally reserved for Sciences, Engineering and Technology. “The faculty needs to improve its research capacity and reach, this chair will surely achieve that for us. I am also confident that we are the only faculty of management that secured such an award, it says a lot about our submission.” He says he would like the whole faculty to take pride on this award as it was a team effort from the faculty.

TUT now has the second highest number Research Chairs in the university sector. The University of the Western Cape, currently the leading university as far as the number of Research Chairs are concerned, received seven new ones.

This year, the NRF received 275 applications for Research Chairs from 22 universities. It awarded 60 new Research Chairs.

For more information about the Tshwane University of Technology please contact Willa de Ruyter on 012 382 5352 or send an e-mail to