This year’s eagerly anticipated Faculty of Health Sciences’ Research Day at the University of Pretoria (UP) was an eclectic mix of research and innovation. Faculty Research Day is a key component of the Faculty's research development strategy, which is aimed at nurturing young and emerging researchers and giving recognition to established researchers. Participants presented their research in the form of oral presentations, poster presentations and poster displays.
The event spanned one and a half days. This year there were 90 oral presentations, 46 poster presentations, as well as a total of 160 posters on display. On postgraduate level – master’s and higher – prizes were awarded for the best contributions in clinical and pre-clinical research, while undergraduate students and students up to honours level competed for undergraduate prizes.
The quality of this year’s papers was really impressive. Presentations were clustered in the Faculty-identified research frontier areas and it was exciting to see the range of work presented by emerging and established researchers in areas from basic to clinical sciences.
The second day included addresses from different keynote speakers. The presentation, ‘Partnering for research success: lessons from CAPRISA’ by Prof Salim Abdool Karim, Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), was certainly a highlight. Prof Karim’s presentation provided invaluable insights to both current and prospective medical researchers on aspects such as funding, collaboration and high-impact research while staying locally relevant.
Other speakers highlighted opportunities for collaboration, expanding research through innovation, and bridging the gap between basic and clinical research. The academic programme concluded with a session on ethical issues related to the generation of research data, with experts breaking down legal and technical information and presenting it from a research perspective.
The two days were wrapped up by the resoundingly cheerful and well-attended awards and social function. Congratulations to all the prize winners! Faculty Research Day 2015 of UP's Faculty of Health Sciences undoubtedly stimulated interesting debates and provided opportunities for networking, learning and innovation.