On 21 September, PDBY attended a virtual book launch via YouTube, hosted by the University of Pretoria in collaboration with the National Research Foundation and the Department of Science and Innovation.

The book launch was to celebrate the launch of a book titled; Management of Research Infrastructure: A South African Funding Perspective, authored by University of Pretoria’s Head of Capacity Development, Dr Rakeshine Ramoutar-Prieschl, and Dr Sepo Hachigonta, the Director for strategic planning and partnerships from the National Research Foundation. The book was published by Springer Nature early this year, with the support and funding from the National Research Foundation and the Department of Science and Innovation.

About the Author:

Dr Rakeshnie Ramoutar-Prieschl: She obtained a Master’s in biotechnology and a Doctorate in business management. She has tutored and lectured both undergraduate and postgraduate students. She has also served under committees, namely, The National Science and Technology Forum Awards and the Nanotechnology Public Engagement Programme. In addition, she has served on various advisory boards and committees, including the Centre of High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy. She also serves as a member of the Executive Committee for the organisation of women in science in developing countries, and the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Child Welfare South Africa. For over 11 years, Dr Ramoutar-Prieschl has previously led the Research Infrastructure portfolio, as a Director of the National Research Foundation. In her journey, she has developed numerous strategies, policies, and frameworks that have provided the foundation for nurturing several research infrastructure platforms in the country. She has worked for vaccine development, and has held various management positions, including working at the Desmond Tutu TB and HIV center. Currently, Dr Ramoutar-Prieschl holds the position of Head of Department: Research Capacity Development at the University of Pretoria. She is accountable for the full portfolio of grants support and management as well as strategic interventions for early career academics (ECAs). She has been the recipient of numerous grants to develop and strengthen the track record of ECAs at the University.

Dr Sepo Hachigonta: He holds a Master’s and a Doctoral degree in Environmental Science from the University of Cape Town. Currently, he holds the position of Director and Strategic Partnerships at the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. Dr Hachigonta’s interests span several trans-disciplinary fields, from agricultural and environmental systems, to a research committee that impacts the continents science, technology, and innovation landscape. He has extensive networks with over 20 countries on the African continent, and has contributed in developing systems analysis expertise aimed at addressing current global challenges through various programmes, such as South African Systems Analysis Centre (SASAC) – a multi-year initiative that implements cognizance multi-level systems analysis capacity interventions and a comprehensive approach to policy-rated activities in Southern Africa. In addition, Dr Hachigonta has been instrumental in spearheading South Africa’s participation in regional and international bodies, including the Science Granting Council Initiative (SGCI), the International Science Council (ISC) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Prior to joining the NRF, he was a programme manager at FANRPAN, a regional policy analysis network on food security and agriculture based in Pretoria.

About the book:

Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Professor Tawana Kupe, explained that the objective of the book is to provide a blueprint for colleagues working in research management at funding agencies, universities, and government. Research infrastructures which include research equipment, pilot plants, technology demonstrators, proof concepts, and specialised facilities for high tax sectors such as aerospace form the unique preposition of the book. The unique preposition of the book is to provide a holistic approach to the management of research infrastructure, grants, and equipment. The book further provides critical elements of the research infrastructure. The role this book plays is shaping the management research infrastructure within the higher education landscape in Africa by sharing national examples.

Provided by the open access book is an overview of the building blocks necessary for managing, steering, and guiding the establishment of a research infrastructure. Valuable insights are offered, along with grants management, access and management at the academic, agency and policy level, and serves as a useful guide for the research community, students, and those in the private sector wishing to understand the approaches and opportunities involved in the maintenance, establishment, and management of research infrastructure platforms. This helps present a holistic view of research infrastructure investment and grants cycles from a South African Perspective. The target audience of the book include those working in Science Diplomacy, Science Grants (especially in Africa), policymaking as well as donors and funders.

The book can be accessed via this link : https://link.springer.com to download the PDF.

Illustration: Promise Zulu

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