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University of the Free State :: Annual Research Report 2011
Magazines | Education 2012-08-07 10:44:22
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    university of the free state ANNUAL RESEARCH REPORT 2011 Celebrating A DECADE of research excellence

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    ISSUEd by Directorate Research Development * University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa Website: www.ufs.ac.za CREATIvE dIRECTION Antoinette du Randt EdITORIAL & LANgUAgE REvISION Robyn Arnold, Write Connection CC dESIgN ANd LAyOUT SUN MeDIA Bloemfontein, South Africa PHOTOgRAPHS Stephen Collett UFS Strategic Communication Individual contributions Anja Auckamp (QwaQwa Campus building) Johan Roux (South Campus building) Reinier Brönn (UFS Main building) CONTACT dETAILS Dr Glen Taylor Tel: +27(0)51 401 9778 E-mail: taylorgj@ufs.ac.za

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    dIvERSITy FOR EXCELLENCE. Courageous diversity - extraordinary researCh - inspired exCellenCe.

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    Contents 01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. Diversity: A prerequisite for excellence. 08 Message from the Vice-Chancellor and Rector. Testimony to transformation. 12 Message from the Vice-Rector: Academic. The journey to excellence. 14 Message from the Senior Director: Research Development. Diversity for excellence. 20 Exploring fresh lines of inquiry through courageous diversity in knowledge and method. International collaboration. 48 International Institute for Studies on Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice. 52 Innovation and business development. 56 Postgraduate school. 60

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    09. Focus on postdoctoral research. 62 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. Strategic Academic Clusters. 86 Water management in water-scarce areas 88 New frontiers in poverty reduction and sustainable development 92 Technologies for sustainable crop industries in semi-arid regions 98 Materials and nanosciences 102 Advanced biomolecular research 106 2011 Research highlights. 110 Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences 112 Faculty of Education 116 Faculty of Health Sciences 118 Faculty of the Humanities 126 Faculty of Law 134 Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences 138 Faculty of Theology 144 South Campus 148 QwaQwa Campus 150 2011: Facts & figures. 152 Awards and recognitions. 156 2011: Inaugural lectures. 164

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    annual researCh report 6 "My HUMANITy IS bOUNd UP IN yOURS, FOR wE CAN ONLy bE HUMAN TOgETHER." Archbishop Emeritus Desmond TUTU Honorary Doctorate: Theology 27 January 2011

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    " THANk yOU FOR bEINg THE PIONEERS FOR A NEw wAy OF THINkINg ANd A NEw wAy OF bEINg IN THE wORLd. FOR OPENINg UP yOUR HEARTS IN SUCH A wAy THAT yOU UNdERSTANd wHAT ALL OF HUMANITy COMES TO kNOw wHEN yOU REACH TRUE wISdOM. ANd THAT IS THAT wE ARE ALL REALLy MORE ALIkE THAN wE ARE dIFFERENT." Dr Oprah WINFREY Honorary Doctorate: Education 24 June 2011 00. foreword 7

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    annual researCh report 8 01. diversity: a prereQuisite for exCellenCe. Message from Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector. Prof Jonathan D Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector

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    "IN SHORT, NOT ONLy CAN yOU HAvE bOTH - EXCELLENCE ANd dIvERSITy - IT IS My NORMATIvE ARgUMENT THAT dIvERSITy should be ONE OF THE AgREEd-UPON ANd RECOgNISAbLE FEATURES OF EXCELLENCE IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN ACAdEMy" ~ Prof Jonathan D Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector one of the common mistakes often made in south africa is to fall into the trap of binary thinking; we work with absolute choices, the one or the other. nowhere is this tendency more prevalent than in the often polemical debates on excellence versus diversity. you either recruit world-class professors or you provide opportunities for disadvantaged young scholars to enter the profession. your research is either placed in the leading journals in the world, or you concern yourself with local relevance and publish in native journals. in its worst articulation, diversity threatens excellence. 01. diversity: a prereQuisite for exCellenCe 9

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    annual researCh report 10 There is another way of looking at these choices between excellence and diversity. To begin with you can reason that diversity is in fact a prerequisite for excellence. The bigger and more diverse the talent pool from which you recruit, the more likely you are to generate more and better research. You could argue, not only in the humanities and social sciences, that when the range of questions and puzzles investigated is limited to the social and cultural milieu of a particular group of people or within national borders, the less likely it is that innovative, responsive and groundbreaking findings or solutions might emerge. Yet another angle on this problem of false choice is to think about your senior and most productive professors, often white and male, as resources to be utilised to build a more diverse class of next generation scholars from among the most talented postgraduate students. In short, not only can you have both - excellence and diversity - it is my normative argument that diversity should be one of the agreed-upon and recognisable features of excellence in the South African academy. The University of the Free State (UFS) has done just that, and in 2011 we already began to see what happens when you strengthen at the top (the excellence imperative) and build from the bottom (the equity imperative). Singular examples must suffice. I have been astounded by the kinds of scholarship we could build among young academics through an intensive one-year period of on-campus training, development and support to be followed this year by the first of these promising scholars leaving for their overseas placement alongside a mentor of great standing. I sat in several of these meetings of the Prestige Scholars Programme, as it's called, and found great synergy, mutual encouragement, and heightened energies for top class performance as intellectuals and as researchers. At the same time, we have set the bar high for academic recognition at the level of the professoriate, and we have been blessed to both attract leading scholars from South Africa and abroad, but also give greater recognition to the stars we already have among us. There is something beautiful that happens when the excellence bar is lifted for all scholars, young and old. We become more productive; we find ourselves in good company among leading world universities through active research partnerships; we attract outside researchers who want to be part of the growth and excitement; and we begin to attract funding that was not possible before. So, for example, the UFS now has among the highest number of NRF-rated scientists per size of the academic faculty; and we have seen the productivity graph bear witness to a record growth in our funded research outputs; we have won our first-ever NRF/DST Research Chairs. In each of these achievements, the excellence we seek comes with and through the diversity we celebrate. One of the most important other examples of this pursuit of excellence through diversity is in the sudden growth and presence of women academics on our campuses in senior leadership positions. I think here of Melanie Walker (former ly Nottingham University, Higher Education and Human Development), Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (formerly University of Cape Town, Psychology), Phillippa Tumubweinee (formerly University of Johannesburg, Architecture), Corli Witthühn (formerly University of Stellenbosch, Food Science), Helene Strauss (formerly McMaster University, Literary Studies), Hasina Ebrahim (formerly University of KwaZulu- Natal, Social Sciences and Language Education), and others. The same is true for senior administrator-academics such as Choice Makhetha who adds greater diversity to our Senior Management team as Vice-Rector External Relations, Lis Lange (formerly Council on Higher Education) who adds a layered scholarship to our thinking about institutional research, and Dineo Gaofhiwe-Ingram who now heads our International Affairs office. Much, much more has to be done in terms of gender equity at the senior levels of the academy, but we have at least started a process that

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