Become Active Researchers: Science & Agriculture Students Urged

The recent annual UNIZULU Faculty of Science and Agriculture Research Symposium 2017 saw Honours, Master’s and PhD students currently undertaking their studies within this Faculty being urged to continue conducting research in their various fields (of study) as this is important for the country of South Africa.

The Research Symposium is an annual event which provides an interactive space for knowledge sharing between specialised science and agricultural disciplines such as Botany, Bio Kinetics (Including Sports Science and Human Movement Science), Chemistry, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Consumer Sciences, Geography, Hydrology, Microbiology, Physics and Zoology.

Professor Nokuthula Kunene, the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture at UNIZULU, said apart from providing a platform for presenting papers, this conference was also a way of encouraging students in the Faculty to pursue their postgraduate studies so as to increase their chances of securing employment.

“Research is important for the country so I urge you to take it seriously. At the moment, the world is faced with rapid environmental changes such as increase in population, urbanisation and climate change. We are facing a lot of challenges due to these issues so we require answers on how we can sustain ourselves. It is therefore crucial that we get more researchers,” said Prof Kunene.

Professor Onisimo Mutanga from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental Science, gave the keynote address. Like Prof Kunene, he also emphasised the importance of pursuing postgraduate studies; enlightening students about the personal and societal benefits of doing this.

“Conducting postgraduate research develops the inner self. You gain self-confidence to challenge certain knowledge boundaries. By doing so, you develop society as well. Most research is done to solve current problems so when one conducts research, he or she contributes to the solution of those problems. This (conducting postgraduate research) also has implications on higher salary prospects,” said Prof Mutanga.

While he (Prof Mutanga) acknowledged that many students may be under pressure to find employment after completing their undergraduate studies because of dire financial situations, he also encouraged them to persevere as he learnt from his personal experiences as a student that “sacrifice pays off”.

– Naledi Hlefane

Pictured: Professor Onisimo Mutanga from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental Science and Professor Nokuthula Kunene, the Dean of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture at UNIZULU. The two professors are pictured at the annual UNIZULU Faculty of Science and Agriculture Research Symposium 2017.