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The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Philisiwe Charity Cele, was recently awarded for her outstanding presentation at the recent Data Awards ceremony, on how data is being used to transform DUT in line with Envision 2030. 

The award was given in recognition of the best presentation in the Perspective of the Sustainability award: Statutory Reporting Data: DUT Research Outputs. 

Cele, who has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from MANCOSA, is a Research Administrator, coordinating statutory reporting function of research data at DUT. 

Upon winning such a prestigious award at the Data Awards, Cele expressed her excitement on being part of the award-winning team. “I feel that part of the hard work that has been put by various colleagues and our leadership is finally paying off and is being recognised. I hope this works as an incentive to all of us to desire to do more for DUT. After being here and studying here, the award marks yet another milestone for me,” she said ecstatically. 

Giving more feedback on her presentation, she said that the main sort of data presented was that from Journal articles, Books and Chapters, Creative Research, Proceedings and Masters and Doctoral tracking. 

“On examining DUT research data, the trend shows that as time progresses, DUT research performance improved significantly from 2018 to 2019 (669,93 to 684,79) and we expect an increase of research publication units in 2020 despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Data also revealed the alignment at DUT research with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – relevance to industry/society and continues to drive global solutions (i.e. global security, global health as well as global sustainability),” she said. 

She further indicated that in 2019, DUT recorded the highest research rewards of (+/- R45 000 000) through research outputs.  “The Research Information Management Division of the research office continues to administer the University research outputs to ensure financial sustainability in line with ENVISION 2030,” she said. 

Explaining on the vital role of statutory reporting data, she relayed that statutory reporting provides a trusted platform upon which the University can compare itself with its peers. 

She said that over the years, the transformation of South Africa into a developing country would require home grown research output that clearly enhance the country’s ability to harness its economic, social capabilities. “With research I have now grown to appreciate, it would not be possible to do so. I am glad to be part of the team that provides performance measures as to what the university’s contribution is academically and in society. Perhaps this also allows for monitoring and evaluation of outputs in general and output in specific areas of focus,” she said. 

With the focus on Envision 2030, Cele said staff are now better placed with knowledge on the systems and requirements of the DHET and other stakeholders.  “That knowledge base resides in our office. I feel that we can have road shows that will provide information shows across faculties. These can be done from time to time or when there is a need. With the pandemic, we have all come to appreciate the need for digital platforms with information we need. That being the case, perhaps our unit can make short videos that provide information to researchers. Lastly an information officer in the unit can be designated as a first point contact for those who need any information. The above can be hosted on our webpage on the University’s website,” she replied. 

“Any project you are embarking on in terms of data reporting, it is often said that a good measure of a job well done is being given opportunities to do more.  I am hoping to get more involved institutionally with those who are leading in data administration and management.  Carve out a direction from there,” she said. 

Her key goals, going forward, is to learn more about what other institutions globally are doing in DUT’s space. “Any staff exchanges and benchmarking initiatives to augment what is already in place at DUT. I hope we can continue working with other researchers to publish academic articles related to Statutory reporting. I will be more than happy to work along with such ones,” she said. 

Finally, she also wishes to pursue a doctoral study for the sake of those that look up to her for inspiration. Cele has been at DUT now for 20 years. “I so wish one day I can do a PhD and engage in research projects that inspire and impact livelihoods of young people especially in rural South Africa,” she said. 

Pictured: Philisiwe Charity Cele 

Waheeda Peters 

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