With academics and research in their blood, a formidable mother-and-son team recently achieved something great: both received ratings from the National Research Foundation (NRF) for their respective – and quite diverse – fields of research.
Prof Berendien Lubbe, Head of the Tourism Management Division in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, received her C3-rating in 2013 while her son Dr Nico de Bruyn, a senior lecturer in UP’s Department of Zoology and Entomology, were rated as a Y1 researcher at the end of 2014.
Prof Lubbe is on top of her game as a researcher of eTourism, air transport in tourism and business travel. Dr De Bruyn, on the other hand, contributes to the knowledge base of UP’s Mammal Research Institute by studying large mammal population ecology.
These two family members have the highest regard for each other’s work ethic. “Workwise, my mother is a fantastic academic, manager and strategist. She portrays the personality and skills that make a successful academic. More than just a good researcher, she has understanding of the varied challenges and approaches that are required in professional life in general,” says Nico.
He adds that his mother has always been utterly honest and morally principled in her activities as an academic, sometimes to her own detriment.
“She has always been a wonderful example for me. She taught me to think, to care, to work hard and to be absolutely determined. I have three little children of my own, and now appreciate even more her efforts to rise to where she has while being a mother to three herself!”
According to Prof Berendien, Nico has taught her more about growing as an academic than she learnt anywhere else.
“He is totally passionate about his work, completely focused on his discipline and highly driven. To see someone so involved and enthusiastic about what he does is inspiring and as a mother I am very proud of his achievements.”
She adds that the university provides a wonderfully stimulating environment for growth in research and being recognised through an NRF rating provides even more opportunities for them as researchers.
“I love my work as an academic and researcher and am very happy that my son shares this passion.”