UKZN’s immunologist and Medical Microbiology senior academic, Professor Zilungile Mkhize-Kwitshana, is passionate about boosting research capacity in her academic sphere.
She has initiated a cohort supervision at the School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences – comprising of emerging and established researchers from UKZN and Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) – to supervise credentialing MUT academics.
This has been supported by a series of workshops she has co-ordinated at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine. The latest workshop was attended by MUT junior academic staff registered for master’s and PhD studies at UKZN, and co-supervised by emerging and senior supervisors from MUT and UKZN.
Funded by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), the workshops cover research development and other discipline-specific topics. These efforts align with national priorities, specifically aimed at capacitating historically disadvantaged institutions (HDIs) and individuals, this time focusing on capacitating the MUT cohort to strengthen their research output.
‘This would not have been possible without the SAMRC, not only from a funding perspective, but also in terms of constant support through their Research Capacity Development Division. This is a special grant earmarked for HDIs by the SAMRC as part of its mission to redress past inequities in research funding,’ she said.
Mkhize-Kwitshana said the relationship between UKZN and MUT is growing. ‘Although there have been sporadic interactions before, where MUT staff register and are supervised by UKZN staff, this is the first time we adopt this cohort supervision model,’ she said.
Mkhize-Kwitshana has graduated two master’s students who are MUT staff members, and now enrolled for PhD studies. ‘We constantly get positive feedback from the students after each workshop,’ she said.
Words: Lunga Memela