Change the world

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26/04/2018

A chance to showcase one’s undergraduate research to the world is one that should not be passed up, believes Nelson Mandela University’s Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science, Prof Azwinndini Muronga.

Prof Muronga, who has extended an invitation for the University’s students to submit their projects from second year upwards as entry to the Undergraduate Awards (UA), was recently announced as one of the continuing judges, in the Mathematics and Physics category of the international academic awards.

Mandela University has also, as of this year, become a formal affiliate of the Undergraduate Awards. This affiliation is set to open doors to the University’s undergraduate students and their supervisors and is not limited to science students but extends to other faculties and disciplines through the UA’s 25 categories. These include Architecture and Design, Social Sciences, Visual Arts, Medical Sciences, Engineering, Politics, Education and Law.

A theoretical physicist with a passion for encouraging science studies and development, Prof Muronga is in his third year of judging the maths and physics category of the UA and has gained a lot of exposure to some of the innovative work emerging from the entries.

Undergraduate Awards entries from Nelson Mandela University students are trickling in, with the deadline for submissions being 12 June 2018.

The Undergraduate Awards is the world’s leading awards programme for students still pursuing their first degrees. The awards programme recognises top undergraduate work, shares this work with a global audience and connects students across cultures and disciplines.

The objective of the awards is similar to that of the University’s Faculty of Science, which is establishing a Research Experience for Undergraduates programme.

“Students will participate in doing research projects at undergraduate where they will present their work as poster or oral presentations at a Faculty undergraduates presentations events still to be decided by the Faculty,” says Prof Muronga.

“This is aimed at promoting research within all sectors and levels of the faculty.  We also want to spark interest in research during early stages of the students’ academic careers. We want to identify, attract and nurture them in a bid to retain future academics.”

Prof Muronga, who has been chairing the panel that judges undergraduate projects around the globe in the maths and physics category, believes exposure to global best practices will be of major benefit to entrants.

“One of our Mandela University’s values is excellence. This will motivate our students to excel as they are pitched against other undergraduate students,” he says.

A call has been made for submission of projects from second and third year and Honours students for this year’s Undergraduate Awards competition. Current third year students can submit second year projects, Honours students their third year work and Masters students can submit their projects from their Honours year.

Student may submit up to three projects, which must be A-grade or higher and a maximum of 12 000 words.

Besides the overall category winners, judges also select highly commended entrants, who also get an opportunity to attend the awards ceremony in Dublin, Ireland, later this year. These students also receive a gold medal and certificate of recognition, their winning submission published in the Undergraduate Library, a profile of their work published in the Undergraduate Journal and access to UA Alumni Portal.

Categories of projects for science students include Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, Computer Science, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Life Sciences and Mathematics and Physics.

Students from other faculties can visit http://www.undergraduateawards.com/submit/categories/.

To enter, students should register on http://www.undergraduateawards.com and submit entries by 12 June 2018.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777
Zandile.Mbabela@mandela.ac.za