Getting Up Close and Personal with Research

Wednesday, 13 September 2017, saw the most interactive part of the annual UNIZULU Research Awareness Week during the Open Day part of the weeklong event where the main objective was to stimulate interest in research through an “up close and personal” approach.

The Research Awareness Week began on Monday, 11 September 2017, and ends on Friday, 15 September 2017.

Research Awareness Week Open Day- which was fun and interactive- featured departments from the Faculty of Science and Agriculture displaying their various research to keen students; the exploration of the wide range of study options available at the University; as well as an opportunity for students to find out exactly what certain fields of study entail.

“This is our first year having the Open Day part of the event outside and as a result, more people responded to the call. Normally we have it in the Library,” said Daniela Viljoen, Chief Research Administrator at the UNIZULU Research and Innovation office.

For many students, the experience of being up close and personal with equipment used in the Hydrology Department was “mind blowing”. Professor Jean Simonis, Hydrology HoD (acting), said the aim of the Department’s exhibition at the event was to “create awareness with a purpose”. Prof Simonis said the Department also wanted to ensure that its students are employable; not only in South Africa but the world as well. Amongst the things that the Department has done in order to realise this vision is the signing of Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with industry for the benefit of its students.

An example of such excellence is Sihle Mabhida, a Master’s student in Biochemistry who has co-authored papers which have been published in leading international journals.
Viljoen urged current and potential students to visit the University’s research groups in order to see what’s on offer in terms of research opportunities. “As long as there are researchers willing to put in the work and bend their intellects and imaginations to approaching some of the great challenges facing humanity, research can change the world… many of those tireless researchers can be found at the University of Zululand,” said Viljoen.

– Precious Shamase

UNIZULU Hydrology Honours students, Bongani Cyprian Mkhize and Siyabonga Goodman Zulu, during the Open Day segment of the 2017 UNIZULU annual Research Awareness Week. Here, Mkhize and Zulu are seen at the Hydrology Department’s exhibition stand.