VUT FACULTY OF APPLIED & COMPUTER SCIENCES CELEBRATES RESEARCH EXCELLENCE
By: Qhawekazi Memani – 14 March 2023
On 9 March 2022, the Faculty of Applied & Computer Sciences (FACS) gathered at the Lord’s Signature Hotel in Vereeniging to commemorate their research journey.
The ceremony sought to honour top achieving researchers within the Faculty who are dedicated to increasing the faculty’s research output. The event was also a platform to recognise and encourage staff members who are currently studying towards their PhDs.
In his welcoming address, Dr Simphiwe Nelana, the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research Innovation and Internationalization at VUT, said the ceremony grants everyone a chance to look back and see where they have come from. “We are here today because of your commitment and dedication, “he said.
Also recognising the challenges the faculty faced, Dr Nelana emphasised that the Faculty is ready to go onto another level, adding that the resources are there and external challenges that were hindering progress have been attended to.
In her presentation, Prof Christa Grobler, the Acting Executive Dean of the Faculty, reflected on the faculty’s research journey, and highlighted that the year 1999 was the beginning of a new era for them, when the visionary leader was appointed who, in his capacity led the faculty selflessly.
She further expressed with pride that the groundwork that was done by different researchers at their time of employment at VUT, some are still at VUT. She commended Prof Mabuza for fighting the faculty battles and said that the faculty will now build on the foundation he laid.
Dr Cornelius Ssemakalu: Faculty Research Manager echoed the same sentiment as Dr Nelana and Prof Grobler, and said ,“Reflecting back on where we have come from, we are filled with courage to face the uncertain future. If you asked the pioneers of research within the faculty what it felt like then, I’m sure they would tell you that they felt the uncertainty we experience today, yet look at what we have achieved.”
Dr Ssemakalu added: “At this point I am compelled to accept that perfect conditions only exist in the future (perfect plans) and in the past but not in the very dynamic present. The challenges we face in the present have the power to cloud our vision and thus put us in a reactive state.”
He encouraged the faculty researchers to find a way of making the situation reactive. “This would require that we are prepared to change direction when the need arises but not the destination. The good thing is that to some degree as a faculty we have done this. We have been selfless in how we approached our challenges in our hearts, our minds, and our pockets,” he said.
The following staff members in different categories received research awards, namely:
ESTABLISHED RESEARCHERS CATAGORY
Number one: Prof Fanyana Mtunzi
Number two: Prof Tranos Zuva
Number three: Prof Thokozani Xaba
Number four: Prof Vusumzi Pakade
EMERGING RESEACHERS CATAGORY
Number one: Dr Ntaote Shooto
Number two: Dr Agnes Pholosi
WOMAN IN SCIENCE
Number one: Prof Thokozani Xaba
Number two: Dr Agnes Pholosi
OUTSTANDING RESEARCH IN THE FACULTY
Prof Fanyana Mtunzi
Later on, during the fun filled program the faculty bid farewell to Prof Mabuza. In response, Prof Mabuza thanked the faculty for the gesture and said to him it proves that they are a family in the faculty. In his speech he urged the staff members of the faculty to preserve the momentum they have built on research for future generations.
PROF MABUZA’S HIGHLIGHTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Up his sleeves Prof Mabuza holds countless achievements and milestones and here are some of them:
- He revived Non- Destructive Testing (NDT) in 1999 based on Industry needs.
- He established Inservice training opportunities for the students
- He established countless NDT industry relationships and benchmarked with the programme Internationally.
- He supervised 9 WIL students
- He supervised 14 projects
In closing, Ms Kediemetse Mokotsi, Director Public Relations and Marketing thanked the different stakeholders, guests and faculty staff members who attended the event and she also thanked the faculty for creating an enabling high-performance environment and a sense of belonging for the faculty staff members.