Change the world


Dr Sepo Hachigonta, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the National Research Foundation (NRF), delved into how international partnerships can be leveraged to advance a research career, highlighting that researchers must be agile to deal with risks of failed funding efforts. 
"Use technology to nurture and advance partnerships. Partnerships are very key if you want to grow within the academic pathway. Attracting and nurturing partners and bringing in money for the system is not an easy task but over time as you develop your networks and stakeholders, it gets easier. Being clear on expectations, objectives and outputs is important for making a partnership successful. You must also plan for all the variables and risks associated with partnerships. If you've got a good network and a good relationship with international partners, they are your champions to open up doors for other partnerships."
June-Rose Ngcobo, University of Pretoria Manager: International Partnerships and Projects, talked about the value of postdoctoral fellowship to a research career and creating an environment that teaches postdoctoral fellows leadership, commitment and initiative.
"The postdoctoral phase is the beginning of your career. When you begin your fellowship, it's a valuable time where you are building an expertise. You have to publish, that's the value of doing a postdoctoral fellowship. You are assisted to build your career within a supportive environment. Applying for grants is the nature of the academic environment. You have to look for money because that is what you will do for the rest of your academic career. The value adding programmes when you do postdoctoral fellowship, you get introduced to your supervisor's network. You do collaborative work and get introduced to multidisciplinary work and as we provide training we allow postdoctoral fellows to train postgraduate students to prepare for their career in academia."
Lecturer and Researcher at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Dr Thifhelimbilu Daphney Bucher, talked on attributes of being a successful postdoctoral fellow. 
"It is important that towards the end of your research, you apply for a rating. When you apply for a career in academia and you introduce yourself as a rated researcher, it shows that your work has been reviewed. It is good to have a mentor as a trusted advisor. You have to lay a foundation before you go into the job of teaching and have published research that is of interest to you, not your supervisor.” 
Lawyer and Compliance Officer Ms Eleni Flack-Davison at Wits University spoke on the code of conduct for research under the POPI Act, referencing how the Nuremberg trial in post-Nazi Germany set a legal framework for protecting research participants from harm and promoting autonomy. 
"Ethics in terms of research is a moral and social responsibility mandate that we have and what researchers have. It's the protection of human participants promoting health and wellbeing. You must conduct the research according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards. Researchers and institutes are not immune to legal repercussions such as being sued. Treating individuals with dignity and respect is important to promote research participation. It limits risk of harm and increases valid research findings. Twenty-three doctors were brought to justice in the Nuremberg trial which resulted in the Nuremberg Code to establish guidelines and standards with respect to conducting research on humans. Four core moral principles related to research participants today are autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice."
Recordings of each days' sessions can be found on our YouTube channel:

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Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777