Page 169 - UCT Research Report 2011

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In the second year of its WUN membership, UCT has
been an active partner in a number of initiatives. This
includes concluding a memorandum of understanding
with Pennsylvania State University (USA) and hosting
its first gathering of WUN delegates at a meeting titled
Uses and Abuses of Culture
. Another WUN event,
jointly hosted by UCT and the University of York, was
21st Century Challenges of Chronic Lung Disease
conference, which took place at the Institute of Infectious
Disease and Molecular Medicine in November 2011.
mobility awards
were granted during the
course of 2011, from UCT funding ring-fenced for this
purpose. These awards are aimed at enabling research
visits to WUN partner campuses, either to strengthen
existing research links, or to set up future collaborations
that may then be funded by other sources.
The WUN Research Development Fund (RDF) has
been another source of funds for UCT researchers to
strengthen collaboration with WUN partners. A basic
requirement of these grants, valued at approximately
R110,000 for one year, is that any research project
should engage at least three WUN member universities
and should span at least three countries. The budget
requested from WUN must be matched by the
collaborating universities. For purposes of the RDF,
the WUN has identified the following global challenges
within which research collaboration is being supported:
adapting to climate change; global public health; non-
communicable disease control; globalisation of higher
education and research; and understanding cultures. In
2011, one RDF application submitted with UCT as the
lead institution was successful, while a further four, with
UCT as a consortium member, also succeeded.
In order to maximise the benefit of UCT’s membership of the
WUN for the university’s research and international goals, an
internal steering committee was established, with a rotating
chairpersonship between deputy vice-chancellors Danie
Visser and Thandabantu Nhlapo. This further strengthens
the collaboration between the Research Office and IAPO.
Strengthening research ties
Significant progress was made during 2011 in identifying
existing strong collaborations with international institutions.
The leveraging value of current collaboration between
UCT’s Marine Research Institute (MA-RE), the Institut de
Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) and two French
universities is a case in point. A senior UCT delegation
visited France in 2011 to discuss co-badging degrees,
and ultimately joint degrees in marine science with the
l’Université de Bretagne Occidentale in Brest and the
University of Montpellier.
It is hoped that this agreement between the institutions
will strengthen the university’s research in marine
sciences, and boost endeavours to understand climate
variability, climate change, and development from the
African perspective. The France-South Africa partnership
in atmospheric and marine sciences has already been
established through the IRD and MA‑RE.
In addition, the two university delegations also discussed
a specific implementation agreement for co-operation in
marine science, student and staff exchanges, funding for
these, and mutual acceptance of each others’ master’s
modules, as well as the co-supervision of doctoral students.
Similarly, relations based on an existing memorandum of
understanding with the National University of Singapore
(NUS) have been strengthened through the virtual
partnering of five staff members from UCT’s chemical
engineering department and colleagues from the NUS
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
In addition to exploring ways in which they can collectively
leverage significant research grants, Professor Jack
Fletcher, of UCT’s Department of Chemical Engineering,
is taking the UCT lead in a collaborative NUS-driven
project on clean coal technology, to which the UCT
Centre for Catalysis Research can make a significant
contribution. A UCT-NUS exchange programme, at both
undergraduate and postgraduate levels, will be explored
in due course.
A senior delegation from UCT and l’Université de Bretagne Occidentale met to strengthen ties. (From left) Dr Claude Roy,
Professor Danie Visser, Professor John Field, Dr Yves-Marie Paulet, Dr Marilet Sienaert, Dr Steven Herbette.