DVC of Research, Innovation and Engagement awarded C2 NRF Rating

Professor Nokuthula Sibiya

She jokingly said she was eagerly awaiting the results of her application for a new National Research Foundation (NRF) rating. She was expecting the results after Christmas. But the results were delivered much sooner, and they made her day!

She is now a C2-rated researcher, a notch up from her previous C3 rating. This is Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Engagement. She said the new rating was “exciting” news for her, which she received this week.

Such news will surely propel Professor Sibiya’s zeal to do more for the Institution, as she promised when she joined the University some months ago.

“My plan, as guided by the strategic objectives of MUT,  is to focus on improving excellence in research, innovation and engagement at MUT,” said Professor Sibiya. On a personal note, she said: “I need to enhance international recognition for the quality and impact of my research projects and recent research outputs”.

Professor Sibiya says that the NRF rating system is a key driver to building 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,” she said. Professor Sibiya added that ratings are based “primarily” on the quality and impact of research outputs over the past eight years, as evaluated by local and international peers. The rating system identifies researchers who are leaders in their fields and recognises the production of high-quality research outputs.

C-rated researchers are established researchers with a sustained recent record of productivity in the field. They are also recognised by their peers as having produced a body of quality work, the core of which has coherence and attests to ongoing engagement with the field.

Professor Sibiya’s focus area is primary healthcare (PHC) with a specific focus on maternal and child health. She indicated that her interest in PHC, which stemmed from her postgraduate studies, enabled her to supervise postgraduate students’ research with a focus on, inter alia, PHC, health systems, HIV/AIDS, mother and child, and mental health. She has published more than 100 articles, peer-reviewed conference proceedings, books and book chapters. She has successfully supervised 28 doctoral and 60 master’s students. For her contribution to PHC, she was awarded the 2018 Woman Scientists of the Year by the National Department of Science and Technology.