The Durban University of Technology recently hosted its Annual Research and Innovation Awards Programme (ARIAP) at the Hilton Durban Hotel in recognition of researchers and students who are have contributed towards building the research and innovation profile of the University.
The ARIAP was organised by the University’s Research Postgraduate Support Directorate under the helm of Professor Sibusiso Moyo, Director: Research and Postgraduate Support and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement. The awards ceremony was also attended by high profile guests including DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu; United States Consul General in Durban, Frances Chisolm and Professor Michael Chapman, Retired Professor at DUT.
“We, together with the research community, look forward to Prof Mthembu’s support and engagement as we push the research, innovation and engagement agenda to a new dimension at the University,” said Prof Moyo, alluding to the fact that the 2016 ARIAP was the first research and innovation event at the University to be attended by Prof Mthembu as part of his first year at DUT. “As a University, we believe that the biggest asset we have are our staff and students and hence, spending at least one occasion in the academic calendar to recognise their contributions helps to continuously incentivise and motivate them to perform at a higher level,” she said.
Prof Mthembu, who expressed contentment at the fact that DUT has a variety of people who also think differently from one another, said researchers and innovators are the epicentre of the revolution the world has undergone to what it is today. He reiterated that the theme for the awards and the annual Research and Innovation Report required that DUT demonstrate its commitment to sustainable development through its research and innovations. “It is within this context that as a University we need to identify what our role is in accentuating sustainable development within the broader University mission of teaching and learning, research and innovation and engagement. Sustainability is critical in all these areas as we demonstrate our responsibility and accountability to society as a university with unique capacities that could help to develop our country,” said Prof Mthembu.
Consul General Chisolm said research is critical to the development work that the US does throughout the world. “Whether it relates to the environment, agriculture, business, medicine or human behavior; research is what we look to for the evidence to inform our planning, especially when it comes to investing precious resources. In an era of intense competition for a limited pool of development resources globally, due diligence and proper stewardship require us to invest wisely,” she said.
Chisolm also added that as stewards of the US President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) at the US Mission to South Africa, the United States Consulate General in Durban carries the responsibility for significant donor resources for public health in Africa, especially in the field of HIV/AIDS and TB. “We are grateful for the benefit of high quality research that helps drive us toward an end to the dual epidemic that has claimed the lives of so many South Africans,” she said, adding that there are over 300 studies funded by the US National Institutes of Health in South Africa presently. “I want to emphasise that the United States is very proud to partner with the South Africa government, the country’s outstanding South African scientists and clinical researchers within organisations operating here in KwaZulu-Natal to be persistent with the fight against HIV/AIDS,” she said.
DUT Drama students entertained guests in-between the awards presentations and dinner.
The evening continued with the presentation of awards in various categories. DUT Faculty of Arts and Design Executive Dean, Dr René Smith handed over the 10 Top University Journal Publishers Certificates in Recognition for 2015 Accredited Outputs. These were awarded to Professors F Bux (9.05 units), N Dorasamy (8.39 units); Drs LM Lekhanya (7.50 units), A Giampiccoli (7.30 units); Profs K Kanny (6.22 units), JP Govender (6.16 units), OO Olugbara (5.66 units), MN Sibiya (4.30 units), DS IIcev (4.00 units) and PE Green (3.66 units).
For more on the awardees of the night, go to http://www.dut.ac.za/annual-research-awardees-2016/
– Waheeda Peters
Pictured: US Consul General in Durban, Frances Chisolm; DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu and DUT Director: Research and Postgraduate Support and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Prof Sibusiso Moyo, at the DUT Annual Research Awards Programme (ARAP).