FABI hosts Annual Directors

Posted on November 27, 2012

The impact of the research conducted in the eight nationwide CoEs was high on the agenda as well as examining the impact made towards addressing government priorities and challenges.

Centres of Excellence (CoEs) are defined as physical or virtual entities of research that concentrate existing capacity and resources so that researchers can collaborate across disciplines and institutions on long-term projects. These centres have become a common research funding instrument, having already been established in several countries including Australia, Canada and the United States. In 2004, following consultations with experts from various countries, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) developed a centre of excellence programme framework document to establish such centres. The Department and the Foundation signed a memorandum of agreement through which the NRF was appointed to perform the operational management of the CoE programme.

The DST-NRF CoE Programme was launched in 2004, focusing primarily on South Africa. At the same time, the NRF actively pursued collaboration through bilateral and multi-lateral initiatives to develop and link in to centres of excellence across Africa, as well as with similar initiatives linked to building capacity through north-south collaborative ventures.

The CTHB was launched in 2005 and conducts research through a countrywide network of scientists, with the node of the network represented by researchers at the University. Over the last eight years, the CTHB has established a niche in South Africa’s science system to promote the health of trees in natural woody ecosystems, particularly through applying a range of biotechnology tools. Since its inception, the CTHB team has produced 40 MSc and 31 PhD graduates and has published more than 300 scientific articles in international journals. Its broad and multidisciplinary research focus means it is ideally placed to contribute to the national challenges involving human resource development.

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