Postgraduate Research &
Innovation Symposium (PRIS)

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Postgraduate Students Excel at Research and Innovation Day

This year’s Postgraduate Research Day at the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science attracted 60 oral and 158 poster presentations – almost double last year’s entry – submitted for review by masters and PhD students from the College’s five Schools.

A new component of the day was the introduction of an Innovation Stream.  This involved a partnership between the College and UKZN InQubate and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) in which interested students were exposed to ‘research to market’ thinking and given the platform to pitch their innovative research ideas with the best concepts being taken up for further market development and funding.

Chief Academic Co-ordinator of proceedings, Dr Michael Gebreslasie, opened the day welcoming students, academics, exhibitors and judges and thanking all participants and contributing funders, both within and outside of the University.

UKZN Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation, Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship,  Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, encouraged students to see the opportunities in their research for commercial innovation and application, and to provide practical solutions to societal challenges.

The keynote lecture was delivered by the Executive Manager:  “Water Use and Wastewater Management at the Water Research Commission (WRC), Mr Jay Bhagwan, who spoke on: Water and Risks – a Symbiotic Relationship”.

The judging panel comprised UKZN academics as well as external participants from Eskom, Transnet, Toyota, Umgeni Water and other research institutions.

A challenging and competitive environment was created for postgraduate students to present their work while at the same time disseminating knowledge.

Thanks to generous funding from about 50 donors and partners, winners and runners-up of the various sessions received sponsorship to attend international and national conferences.

In the oral section, first prize winners were:  Ms Cwengile Dweba supervised by Professor Hussein Shimelis; Ms Selisha Naidoo supervised by Dr Charles Hunter; Ms Denisha Gounden supervised by Dr Nolwazi Nombona; Mr Sanjeeth Sewchurran supervised by Professor Inno Davidson and Professor Olorunfemi Ojo, and Mr Mutua Samuel supervised by Professor Sandile Motsa.

Second prize oral winners were:  Ms Sharon Migeri supervised by Dr Alfred Odindo;  Ms Lauren Eyssen supervised by Professor Theresa Coetzer; Ms Wakhiwe Mthiyane supervised by Dr Allen Mambanda and Professor Deo Jaganyi; Mr Frederick Chikava supervised by Professor Anne Stark and Professor Deresh Ramjugernath, and Mr Napo Mosola supervised by Mr Moses Dlamini and Professor Jonathan Blackridge.

First prize poster winners in the various streams were: Mr Mxolisi Ndlela supervised by Professor Mark Laing; Ms Gemma Gerber supervised Mr Gan Moodley and Dr Deborah Robertson Anderson; Ms Paulene Govender supervised by Dr Alan Mathews and Dr Michael Brooks;  Mr Andrew Oyieke supervised by Professor  Freddie Inambao,  and Mr Ferdinard Ogbuisi supervised by Dr Tosin Mewomo.

Second prize winners in the poster section were: Mr Alexander Zwolinski supervised by Dr Gus Gubba and Dr Benice Sivparsad; Mr Lorenzo David supervised by Dr Mogie Singh; Ms Vuyolwethu Ndabankulu, supervised by Professor Sreekantha Jonnalagadda;  Ms Rochelle Fourie supervised by Professor Deresh Ramjugernath and Professor Paramespri Naidoo, and Ms Milliward Maliyoni, supervised by Dr Farai Chirove and Professor Kesh Govinder.

Words: Sally Frost