Powerhouse of PhDs Graduate from UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science
UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) once again made a significant contribution to South Africa’s much-needed brain pool of highly-qualified Science, Technology and Engineering specialists, awarding an impressive 128 PhDs out of a university total of 350 during this year’s Graduation ceremonies.
The College’s PhD total of 128 is a noteworthy increase over previous years with 117 PhDs being awarded in 2016, 106 in 2015, 98 in 2014, 76 in 2013, 77 in 2012 and 69 in 2011.
This steady increase in PhD production is in line with UKZN’s strategic imperative to become the leading research-based university in South Africa. Marked progress is being made in this regard, with the Department of Higher Education and Training confirming UKZN’s first place – out of the country’s 26 tertiary institutions – in university research output.
PhD research showcased by CAES at the 2017 Graduations produced a rich and varied body of knowledge across the agricultural, scientific and engineering disciplines.
Research topics included a study of the quantum simulation of open quantum systems by Dr Ryan Sweke; research into the relativistic thermodynamics of radiating stars by Dr Robert Bogadi; the development of a small-scale, in-field integrated post-harvest citrus treatment unit by Dr Alaika Kassim; and an examination of the olfactory communication of the white rhinoceros by British-born, Dr Courtney Marneweck.
Not only does the CAES aim to increase its PhD graduates, it also supports a flourishing postdoctoral research programme. During 2016, the College supported 174 postdoctoral scholars.
Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College, Professor Albert Modi, said: ‘The success of the College is due to the commitment and hard work of its academics, professional staff and its students. It is a pleasure to lead this group of individuals.’
The College conferred 2 043 degrees out of a University total of 10 148, compared to 1 821 out of 10 015 in 2016.