Targeted Workshop Supports Emerging Researchers at Sol Plaatje University

Targeted Workshop Supports Emerging Researchers at Sol Plaatje University

The call to support emerging researchers was presented by the National Research Foundation (NRF) during an institutional visit to the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) on 19 April 2024. Led by Dr Sello Manoto, Director: Research Infrastructures, Human and Infrastructure Capacity Development (HICD), the NRF team also consisted of Ms Edith Shikumo, Professional Officer (PO), HICD; Ms Nthabeleng Makhetha, PO, HICD; and Mr Sello Moloi, PO, Reviews and Evaluations (RE). The visit to SPU demonstrated the commitment made by the NRF to fully support recently established universities and historically disadvantaged institutions (HDIs) in their participation in NRF funding instruments.

In her opening remarks, Prof Debra Meyer, Deputy Vice Chancellor Teaching & Learning at SPU, noted that, whilst SPU was initially founded as a teaching university, ten years later its focus is now on the research aspect and the increase of its research outputs. Prof Meyer expressed her delight to the NRF team and attendees and highlighted the importance of the workshop as the university progressively transforms towards a research focus and excellence. This was echoed by Prof Luvuyo Ntombana, Director for Research at SPU, who sought out the academic staff at SPU who would qualify to apply for the Black Academics Advancement Programme (BAAP) and Thuthuka funding instruments so as to provide targeted support.

The academic staff were also required to have registered a profile on the NRF Connect system prior to the session. Dr Manoto highlighted the commitment from the NRF to provide the necessary support and guidance to the emerging researcher cohort to submit fundable proposals to the NRF.

The engagement by the NRF focussed on the development of proposals and applications, and examined the Thuthuka and BAAP Application Templates in depth, expounding on some critical success factors, as well as the scorecards and reviews and evaluation processes.

The NRF team also underscored the importance of engaged research that shows purposeful collaborative inquiry, and results in the creation of knowledge that positively impacts the public good. The NRF Framework to Advance the Societal and Knowledge Impact of Research notes that in its quest to advance a research impact agenda, “This ambition has led to the decision to adopt an impact agenda to steer the organisation intentionally and decisively towards the support, promotion and advancement of research with impact”.

The workshop was successfully received, with the NRF team and Prof Ntombana hopeful that the workshop will produce a better turnout of fundable applications.

From left: Prof Amasa Ndofirepi (SPU), Ms Nthabeleng Makhetha (NRF), Prof Luvuyo Ntombana (SPU), Ms Edith Shikumo (NRF), Prof Debra Meyer (SPU),  Dr Sello Manoto (NRF), Prof Martin Ntwaeaborwa (SPU), Prof Pierre Joubert (SPU), Prof Rusell Viljoen (SPU), Mr Sello Moloi (NRF).
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