Dr Rakeshnie Ramoutar-Prieschl, Head of Research Capacity Development at the University of Pretoria (UP), has been awarded the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) Excellence Award for making a distinguished contribution to the research management profession in southern Africa. The winners were announced at a gala event at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 3 August 2022.
This is the first time a researcher from the University of Pretoria has won this accolade, which was jointly shared with Wits Enterprise.
“I am humbled that the community of Research and Innovation (R&I) peers has deemed me worthy of such a prestigious award,” said Dr Ramoutar-Prieschl, who is also the architect and driver behind UP’s Women in Science initiative and works to put in place interventions for mentoring early career academics. “The award acknowledges and encourages growth and achievement in the field of research and innovation management as a key enabler for driving quality outputs and tangible impact.”
Established in 2002, the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association is a stakeholder organisation that provides a platform for the promotion and facilitation of best practice in research and innovation management in Southern Africa. It aims to strengthen research and innovation systems to ensure the social and economic development of the southern African region.
The annual SARIMA Excellence in Research and Innovation Management Awards honour individuals who have made distinguished contributions to the development of the research and innovation management community and who are recognised beyond their organisation for their broad contribution to the profession. These contributions are anchored on the following pillars: interventions and initiatives in their own organisation or R&I management community; tangible contributions to the development of the profession in terms of capacity development and training; serving on national and international committees; and mentoring and guiding individuals as well as organisations in R&I management.
Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, congratulated her on her achievement: “We are indeed proud of the accomplishments of Dr Ramoutar-Prieschl. This award places UP at the forefront of research and innovation management as we realise our research-intensive ambitions.”
Dr Ramoutar-Prieschl has over the course of her career facilitated grants management training and benchmarking exercises with several African universities, spanning Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, funded by the University of Southampton, through a BRECcIA (Building Research Capacity for Sustainable Water and Food Security in Drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa) project funded by UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund. Prior to that she worked with the Science Granting Councils Initiative with the National Research Foundation, where she played a key role in a number of institutions developing guidelines, frameworks, manuals and other documentation relating to the management of research and infrastructure grants. She has also worked closely with the Botswana government’s Department of Research, Science and Technology, in the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, in this regard. This work culminated in a book published by Dr Ramoutar-Prieschl in 2020 which aims to be a roadmap for universities in Africa to steer towards excellence in the area of strategic grants management practices.
She has also been part of the expert team identified by the African Academy of Sciences and the Association of Research Managers and Administration in the United Kingdom to lead R&I training in the International Research Management Development Programme aimed at building research management capacity across universities in Africa and the United Kingdom.
Currently Dr Ramoutar-Prieschl is Head of Research Capacity Development at the University of Pretoria, a Committee Member of the Southern African Research & Innovation Management Association, an Executive Committee Member for the Organisation for Women in Science for Developing Countries, and Chairperson of Child Welfare South Africa Roodepoort. She is also a grant-holder of the University Partnerships Initiative with the US Embassy on a project focussed on building research management capacity at historically disadvantaged institutions in South Africa.