UP’s Early Career Academic Development Programme (ECADP) benefited my research career

Posted on June 10, 2015

Dr Patrick Njage, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Food Science at the University of Pretoria (UP), is living proof that a good support system can benefit one’s research career. He received the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) Young Scientist award in 2014 and named the Early Career Academic Development Programme (ECADP) as one of the reasons for his success, stating that it was useful in terms of networking and knowledge. He also noted his appreciation for the numerous sessions for young scientists organised by the Department of Research and Innovative Support (DRIS).

Dr Njage explained that owing to the research networks available through UP, he has been successful in his post-doctoral research and has already published eight manuscripts. He received hands-on guidance during the research article review process, which helped speed up the publication. He said that the skills he acquired from experienced researchers at UP and other institutions were crucial to his success and praised Patricia Smit for bringing them together as a resource for younger researchers.

He would like to get a research fellowship, either from UP or from the National Research Foundation (NRF). He has already applied for a post-doctoral top-up from the NRF, which earned him a free-standing post-doctoral fellowship. Dr Njage believes that his application to the NRF was boosted by the skills acquired through the ECADP.

His existing skills earned him co-funding for two grant projects and he is applying for another grant from an African-Australian university network team. His goal is to become an NRF-rated researcher. In conclusion he said that he would encourage other early career researchers to participate in the programme because it provides an opportunity for contact with experienced researchers, and that he views the ECADP as an opportunity to read their mind, and to transform oneself into a more effective and efficient researcher.

- Author Department of Research and Innovation Support

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