Seminar boosts postdoctoral research at VUT
By Nontobeko Zondi – 19 October 2023
The Research Directorate Office at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) recently held a significant event in advancing the University’s research endeavors – the Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship Seminar at its Vanderbijlpark campus. This seminar was more than just a gathering; it was a platform for imparting essential knowledge and extending a warm welcome to the newly appointed post-doctoral fellows, setting the stage for their critical research endeavors.
The seminar revolved around one primary objective: to equip post-doctoral researchers with the insights and resources they would need to make their research studies at VUT worthwhile. In essence, it was about guiding them about the various support mechanisms available at the University, and to give them the assurance that the institution would be by their side throughout their tenure.
The seminar is perfectly aligned with VUT’s strategic research goals, emphasising the need to boost research output, enhance research capacity, foster a culture of support, stimulate innovation, and explore avenues for commercialization. This collective effort aimed at not only advancing academic excellence but also making a tangible impact in the broader community.
Dr. Susanna Burger, the Acting Director of the Research Directorate, delivered a profound address, outlining the multifaceted role of a post-doctoral fellow. According to Dr Burger, postdoctoral fellows are not just researchers; they are educators, mentors, and problem solvers. “Their responsibilities encompass teaching undergraduate programs, guiding postgraduate students, conducting pioneering research, seeking grants, and actively contributing to the operations of a laboratory,” she said.
In her closing remarks, Dr. Burger laid out a clear vision for post-doctoral research at VUT. She said the institution aims to boost the number of postdocs across various faculties, secure external funding sources, tackle the unique challenges they face, and enhance capacity development. “There will also be a strong focus on monitoring and evaluating postdoc activities, fostering closer relationships with them, and actively recruiting more female postdoctoral fellows to foster diversity and inclusion.”
The seminar concluded on an inspiring note with presentations by the 2023/24 post-doctoral fellow candidates, highlighting the wealth of research potential and innovation that awaits in the coming years. This seminar was more than just an event; it was a crucial step toward enhancing the impact of research and education at VUT.
Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation, Commercialisation and Internationalisation at VUT, Dr Simphiwe Nelana applauded the orgnaisers of the event for what he says is directly aligned to one of the strategic pillars of the University – which is research.