‘It is imperative that all of us, as healthcare professionals and medical scientists, produce research that is novel and impactful.’
These were the words of newly-appointed Dean of Research in the College of Health Sciences (CHS), Professor Anil Chuturgoon when he welcomed delegates to the College’s research symposium at the Medical School.
The symposium provides a platform for young researchers to showcase their novel studies to the University community. Having reviewed several of the studies presented, Chuturgoon said he was pleased with the standard and the quality of the work.
‘At UKZN, one of our research goals is excellent and high impact research. Health research has high value to society and we should never forget this.’
The organisers were also impressed by the large number of abstracts received. A total of 88 abstracts were submitted for the one-day programme.
College Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Busi Ncama congratulated Chuturgoon and his team for showcasing that UKZN is a research-led institution. ‘Researchers go the extra mile to enhance the status of UKZN, while producing impactful research.’
She added that she was happy that the majority of presenters were postgraduate students and young academics: ‘I want CHS to become a top-ranking people-centred College underpinned by the principles of universal health coverage, social justice, impact and relevance locally while internationally competitive.’
She said that human capital development is at the core of what she aims to achieve, including knowledge generation, knowledge transfer, and responsible and sustainable community engagement.
Ncama also shared her research plans for the College. These include, ‘A new research institute, a UKZN health consortium, three research hubs across the College, a health promoting university project and research professors and high impact researchers to consolidate research flagships projects.’
The research hubs will be based at the Medical School, Westville campus and at Howard College and aim to assist students to grow their research.
Guest speaker Dr Veron Ramsuran shared his work titled, “Differential HLA-A Expression Levels and the Effect on HIV” at the symposium. He is the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform (KRISP) group leader at UKZN and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences.
The day ended with an awards ceremony where presenters of the best research projects received certificates and vouchers. First prize winners received R30 000 travel vouchers to an international conference, while second and third prize winners received R15 000 travel vouchers to a national conference.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini