Change the world


Day two of the Research Week held at Nelson Mandela University centred on ethics and fostering good partnerships for researchers. 
In creating pathways for advancing emerging researchers, Day two facilitator Nelson Mandela University's Dr Priscilla Mensah shared: 
"Research week allows us space to reflect on why we do research, to address societal research. It also reminds us that all disciplines are critical to address the challenges of Sustainable Development Goals. And to engage with a broad range of stakeholders from funders, to industry partners, inventors, policy makers and students to broaden our networks."
  • University of Limpopo Research Associate in Health Prof Norman Nyazema said ethics and integrity were key to solving many of the societal, health, and economic problems that are topics of research. "Ethics and integrity must be part of your DNA. Always declare a conflict of interest regarding who is funding your research. All along most of the research on climate change was sponsored by oil companies for many years. The people who were funded by these oil companies were not allowed to publish. That's why there was so much resistance against climate change. And now some of those companies may sponsor you for research into renewable energy. Where are the ethics? Where is the integrity?"
  • NRF Director of Strategic Partnerships Dr Sepo Hachigonta 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.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."
  • Discussing the value of postdoctoral fellowship to a research career, University of Pretoria Manager: International Partnerships and Projects June-Rose Ngcobo said postdoctoral fellowships are an opportunity to establish an expertise and should be approached with commitment, initiatie and leadership. "The postdoctoral phase is 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. 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 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 Manager Ms Eleni Flack-Davison at Wits University spoke on the code of conduct for research under the POPI Act and legislation as 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. 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. 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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