VUT GEARS ITS RESEARCHERS TOWARD NRF-RATING
By: Puleng Maphisa 14 November 2022
The Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s Research Department hosted the National Research Foundation (NRF) Rating Workshop on Wednesday, 9 November 2022, at Emerald Casino. The workshop’s main objective was to help prepare VUT researchers, mostly emerging, to attain NRF-Ratings.
The first of its kind at VUT, the workshop sought to guide researchers at the University on how to apply, know the difference and importance of citing good journals that are valuable for the study, and understand what NRF requires when applying for evaluation and rating.
The NRF portal refers to the rating as a key driver in the NRF’s aim to build a globally competitive science system in South Africa. It is a valuable tool for benchmarking the quality of our researchers against the best in the world. The individual researcher’s rating is based the on the quality and impact of the research outputs as well as the evaluation made by local and international peers.
The half-day platform allowed eminent researchers who have walked the journey and are now fully experienced in becoming part of the NRF Rated researchers to share tips with the upcoming cohort. Conversations were led by Professors David Limebeer, who is NRF A-Rated, Michael Masemola, the Executive Dean of VUT’s Human Sciences Faculty and NRF B-Rated Researcher, and Dr David Shooto NRF Y-Rated Researcher. The trio shared their experiences with and advised the potential applicants on what is expected when applying to be part of the rated researchers.
When applying for a rating, attendees were advised to believe in themselves, strive for international recognition, be revolutionary with their ideas and be mindful of the timing when applying.
Professor Michael Masemola, Executive Dean: Faculty of Human Sciences
Prof Masemola said that only academic staff with a Doctorate could apply, “I encourage everyone who qualifies to apply. As individuals, we need to have an opinion about the impact of our work since we are all involved in knowledge production. That knowledge must be useful for the brain, challenges in society, and have peer reviewers, which are often international, to determine the impact or the quality of your work,” said Prof Masemola, explaining the importance of being a rated researcher.
Prof Masemola further empahsised that the VUT research standard will also be a huge benefit regarding the university’s rankings. “Our standing will improve, meaning the higher the number of NRF-rated researchers, the more we have a strong ladder of internationally recognised and credible scholars; therefore, it shows VUT is on a journey of continuous improvement academically.”
With VUT, it will be easy to acquire rated researchers as students are in good hands and are being lectured by credible experts, so say the international reviewers.
Amongst the speakers was Mr Ferdi van der Walt, VUT (NRF) consultant who explained what is required when applying for NRF rating. . When applying, all applications are first submitted to the research office for screening to identify whether the applicants qualify.
Mr van der Walt in his presentation, mentioned that when applying for NRF-rating, the researcher should be a permanent/fixed term contract academic worker, and they should consider a few of the following aspects: any awards received internationally or nationally, have been an external examiner; acted as a reviewer for journal articles; any national or international collaboration; spent time abroad studying; have five best publications in the last eight years; and the number of citations.
He also mentioned that applicants should also be considerate when choosing peer reviewers, adding that they should not be friends, colleagues, or family members. Still, they should strive to select national or international peer reviewers who previously listened to their presentations and made comments on their work, be it positive or negative comments.
The research department encourages everyone who qualifies to contact Chantelle Sonnekus at their office. It won’t just benefit the institution but will help the applicant and assist individuals to benchmark their work against their peers and learn how good their research is. They will also be recognised academically and have access to NRF funding.