Research Directorate hosts its annual indaba

Some staff members that attended the Research Indaba, with Dr Mienie, front row, middle

Inspired by goal 4 of the MUT Strategic Plan 2025 – targeted national engagement and internationalization – and the prevailing atmosphere of cooperation, the Research Directorate at MUT held the annual Research Indaba from 6 to 7 September 2021 off-campus.

The Indaba laid foundation for improvement of research output and quality in the coming years. There are several reasons for this. In the first place, staff were satisfied with the report that Dr Anette Mienie, Director of the Research Directorate presented at the Indaba. The report highlighted how the directorate was paying attention and prioritising the needs of staff members that are doing research. On the first day of the Research Indaba, Dr Mienie gave feedback on the initiatives agreed upon during the previous Research Indaba. Dr Mienie’s report was widely accepted by staff as it showed that the directorate had given attention to some of the crucial issues that staff raised. Some of these issues were the revision of the policy and procedures on Trust Funds.

Another important aspect of the report was a development affecting funds in the personal trust funds. Dr Mienie reported that the amount available in the personal trust funds will now be increased, while amounts allocated to departmental trust funds will be decreased.

“It is suggested to increase the amount (per output unit) allocated to personal trust funds from R15,000.00 to R20,000.00.  Further, decrease the amount allocated (per output unit) to departmental trust funds from R10,000.00 to R5,000.00,” said Dr Mienie.

In addition, procurement matters were presented by Siboniso Mthembu, the Acting Head of the MUT Procurement Department. Mthembu emphasised the need for staff to educate themselves about Procurement procedures and understand their roles. Procurement holds a strategic position as it provides the whole University with the required infrastructure.

The guest speaker was from Carleton University in Canada. Heloise Emdon, Manager of International Sponsored Research, gave an update on what is happening in the world of research. Emdon told staff of the new dynamics in the research arena. She said the prevailing atmosphere was that it was no longer enough to gauge the impact of academic research papers based only on the journals the papers are published in. Emdon said there are now other indicators that are used to measure the impact of research papers. One of these is the impact the research would have upon the society. This indicator blends in well with the University’s philosophy that the Institution should uplift the immediate society. This dovetailed on a presentation on the Anchor Strategy during the event.

The second day focused on the Research Strategic Plan.  Dr Mienie said that the activities and targets of her Directorate’s Plan were realistic and achievable.

“It is my hope that going forward we will make great strides towards meeting and even exceeding the objectives captured in the MUT Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025,” said Dr Mienie.