Policies and documents

Research and Technology Transfer Strategic Plan

2013 – 2017

Preamble

By stressing excellence in teaching, applied research, and community service, by recognising the importance of diversity and innovation, and by building our shared community, we can meet our commitments and realise our goals.

Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) plans to undertake innovative multi-disciplinary research initiatives in order to strengthen its contributions to teaching, applied research and community service throughout the province.  These initiatives will be selected either because they can build on the existing strengths of the University; promise to result in unique academic opportunities for the University, or are of great social significance.

Enhanced cooperation among departments and units internally and collaboration with external institutions will be strongly encouraged.  Increased cooperation and interaction among academic departments, units and centres can provide new opportunities for improvement in teaching, applied research, and community service.

MUT’s strategic plan, the reflections on the previous research strategic plan as well as the national priorities serves as the basis of future directives in research, development and technology transfer.

The objectives, strategies and targets of this plan are as follows:

Objective 1:   Ensure that the research niche areas are aligned to MUT’s mission and strategic priorities and is supported by a critical mass of researchers and allocation of resources

Strategies

  • Revisit the research niche areas;
  • Strengthen links with business, industry and local communities;
  • Critically look at the strategic priorities and revise and align accordingly;
  • In order to develop a critical mass of researchers in research niche areas, there need to be a link between post-graduate studies and niche areas;
  • Develop a plan indicating how resources allocated to research could be redirected to support critical areas such as units, centres and niche areas;
  • Offer masters’ and doctoral qualifications in a limited number of Departments;
  • Develop MUT funded post-doctoral fellowships; and
  • Develop a policy for the appointment of Research Fellows in niche areas.

Objective 2:   Identify and nurture core fields of research activity for which MUT has strategic advantage

Strategies

  • Undertake a strategic review of all current research activities;
  • Develop a number of research units and centers focusing on research of national importance; and
  • Encourage multi-disciplinary research.

Objective 3:   Review the role of the professoriate in developing academic and research leaders in areas where the University has strengths at the undergraduate level and develop strategies aimed at widening research participation and productivity

Strategies

  • Reflect on and revise the responsibilities of Research Professors and Directors of Centres;
  • Clarify the reporting structures of research leaders;
  • Develop strategies to widen research participation;
  • Develop strategies to increase research productivity in a sustainable manner; and
  • Develop performance evaluation criteria for Research Professors.

Objective 4:   To include more people in research activities.  Increase the proportion of academic staff defined as “research active”

Strategies

  • Encourage specialised research;
  • Encourage and assist people to register for post-graduate degrees;
  • Identify and facilitate staff development needs (workshops and surveys);
    • Support capacity building projects.  Capacity building projects are aimed at promoting   the qualifications of staff members;
  • Increase the number of research projects and encourage teamwork; and
    • Develop and support research leadership in the various Faculties.

Objective 5:   To maximise research output

Strategies

  • Encourage the publication of research findings in DHET approved journals;
  • Encourage the presentation of research results at national as well as international conferences and symposia;
  • Facilitate the protection of intellectual property rights including patents;
  • Facilitate the publication process after completion of post graduate studies.  This can be done in collaboration with Staff Development;
  • Encourage all academic staff members on doctoral level to apply for NRF rating as soon as they qualify; and
  • Formulate mechanisms to prevent postgraduate studies in the final completion stages from spilling over to the following year.

Objective 6:   To increase National and International collaboration

Strategies

  • Encourages collaboration with research institutions locally and internationally; and
  • Initiate joint research ventures e.g. resource sharing, joint symposia and technical   training;

Objective 7:   To encourage the commercialisationof research output and collaboration with industry

Strategies

  • Encourage links with industry;
  • Negotiate funding from Industry in collaboration with the Academic Departments (contract research);
  • Commercialise research results; and
  • Invite members from industry to deliver presentations at the University as part of the Research Days.

Objective 8:   Create an environment supportive of research

Strategies

  • Reduce the teaching load of active researchers;
  • Optimise study leave and sabbatical leave for all staff members;
  • Increase awareness of research policies and procedures;
  • Initiate a dialogue on time-tabling; and
  • Develop a mentorship programme.

Objective 9:   To improve administrative facilitation for all researchers

Strategies

  • Develop and maintain quality assurance mechanisms for research;
  • Develop and maintain databases;
  • Develop and regularly update an appropriate set of research and technology transfer policies and procedures;
  • Optimise the use of research facilities;
  • Reinforce and optimise existing mechanisms for monitoring and assessment of research performance;
  • Review the existing research management system to ensure efficiency and  accountability ; and
  • Develop a range of strategies to increase research funding.

Core tracking measures of the plan are:

  • Number of registered research projects;
  • Research income from external sources per project;
  • Number of national, international and invited presentations;
  • DHET accredited research outputs;
  • Number of disclosures and patents;
  • Commercialisation of Research
  • Increase in the number of academic staff members holding masters’ degrees and doctorates; and
  • Number of academic staff members with NRF rating.

Prepared by:   Dr. Anette Mienie

Date:               06 December, 2012