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DUT: Local scientist visits Biotechnology and Food Technology

DUT: Local scientist visits Biotechnology and Food Technology

Media statement by Prof Suren Singh, Head of Biotechnology and Food Technology Department

Legendary scientist Prof Bernard A Prior is currently visiting the Durban University of Technology (DUT) for a month on a scholarly mission to evaluate research performance, assist students and to review publications to ensure they are in good shape and form.

Prof Prior is based in Biotechnology at ML Sultan campus. He is a Professor Extraordinary of Microbiology and Biotechnology at Stellenbosch University.

Previously he held positions as Chairman of the School of Biological Sciences at University of Stellenbosch and head of the Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry at the University of Free State and recently was visiting professor at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, USA and Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China. His association with DUT goes back a few years and he was here in August last year. He works closely with Prof Suren Singh, Head of DUT’s Biotechnology and Food Technology Department.
He is here to improve the research profile of the department and carry on the work he started in 2007. He discusses with students their projects and advises them on how to conduct research effectively and to prepare their work so it is ready to be published in the international journals. He however applauds the department for having recruited a cohort of postdoctoral candidates to increase its research capacity. He notices a definite improvement in research output since the last time he visited. He says he strongly feels that the department is actively engaged in research production and is parallel with others in the field. “It’s important to get new techniques and ideas to improve expertise and I see continued progress,” says Prof Prior.

Prof Prior is impressed that students are keen on pursuing their research projects and there is a strong emphasis on preparing them to go into this direction. “Understanding that DUT was previously not set up to be a research institute, it is encouraging that the University is now providing facilities and equipment to carry out research effectively,” comments Prof Prior. He suggests that establishing more research centres where more people with scientific expertise could share knowledge and conduct research would be ideal to boost research capacity. He believes this would encourage collaboration and sharing of research facilities and ideas to make this University a research institute like any traditional university in the world. He says Prof Singh’s networking with peers in the field internationally also elevates the department’s status.

As an honorary professor, Prof Prior recently spent two months in the Department of Biotechnology at Jiangnan University in Wuxi, China. He found that a brand new campus had been built and it had now more graded facilities and departments than what he had originally observed during previous visits. He says the departments were more consolidated and operated more effectively. He suggests that DUT should follow suit to add to its current good research profile.

For more information contact Prof Suren Singh on:
Tel: 031 – 373 5321
Mobile: 083 468 4292 OR

Prof Bernard A Prior
083 461 8918