UFH DVC for Research, Partnerships and Innovation, Dr Taole-Mjimba gives an overview of the 2022 Research Week of Excellence

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University of Fort Hare (UFH)’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Partnerships and Innovation (RPI), Dr N Taole-Mjimba gives an overview of the 2022 Research Week of Excellence (RWE). Aligned to the UFH’s new Strategic Plan (SP) 2022-2026, this year’s event is themed: “Advancing innovative research in the decade of renewal”.

According to Dr Taole-Mjimba, who serves as the UFH’s first-ever DVC: RPI, the production and dissemination of positively impactful research is being promoted at this year’s RWE, which is currently underway, from 14 to 17 November at our Alice campus. “Earlier this year, the University commenced with the implementation of its new SP, which has at its core, a focus on institutional renewal. As such, our RWE, is aimed at placing an emphasis on research impact”. This is because, among the seven main strategic goals that we have set for ourselves, two of these are core to our portfolio. These include and relate to:

-        Building the University’s research and innovation profile and

-        Enhancing the University’s regional, national and international research footprint, institutional standing and positively impact scholarship.

“Many scholars have engaged and published on what impactful research comprises, its varied meanings and the different forms it may manifest in research outcomes. I’m particularly reminded of a publication by Prof N Boshoff, published in 2018, where not only scientific impact is highlighted, but also technological impact, economic impact, social impact, environmental impact, health impact, cultural impact and even training and capacity development impact, to offer an example. So, when we present our papers this week and participate in the exhibitions I would like to invite all presenters to think about what they want to get out of their research and what positive impact they want to pursue,” said Dr Taole-Mjimba.

To successfully achieve our goals as outlined in the new SP, Dr Taole-Mjimba said that extensive work is yet to be done to build on the strides the university has already made.  “We have to look into our own research capacity and strengths and hence the conclusion process of reviewing our Research Niche Areas (RNA), among others.”

 “In terms of capacity, we have just finalized two resolutions that pertain to research and innovation that have been approved by Senate. Firstly, is to ensure that all prospective academics, before joining the University, should hold a PhD or be registered for one. Secondly, we have set a targeted number of publications that each academic has to produce within a specific time-frame.”

The DVC: RPI also mentioned the strengthening of support to postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows and the University’s aim to produce impactful research through partnerships.

The DVC: RPI remarks came just a few days after the University and the Eastern Cape Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs signed a three-year agreement for the University to conduct research on the effectiveness of local economic development agencies.

"Evidently, in this Decade of Renewal, we want to build this great institution to become a sustainable African university that prides itself in quality and excellent teaching, learning and research and a university that is a leader in providing solutions to societal challenges," said Dr Taole-Mjimba”.