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Postdocs elect new executive committee for 2017
Author: Media & Communication, Faculty of Science
Published: 24/11/2016

The new executive committee of the Postdoctoral Society (PDS) at Stellenbosch University for 2017 was announced at their sixth annual research symposium held at Lanzerac Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, on 27 October 2016.

Dr Romina Henriques, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Botany and Zoology, is the new chair-person, with Dr Natasha Mothapo, also from the Department of Botany and Zoology, as vice-chairperson.

The other newly-elected members are Dr Anslyn John (secretary) and Dr Daniel Nickelsen (treasurer), both postdoctoral fellows at the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITHeP), Dr Zarko Krkleljas, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Sport Sciences as event coordinator, and Dr Charl Swart, a postdoctoral fellow in political sciences at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST), as policy coordinator.

In his end-of-term address, former PDS chair Dr Jacobus Diener said the committee has engaged with SU management to put formal policies and procedures in place to define the development goals and outcomes of the SU postdoctoral programme.

"In 2002 the University hosted only 43 postdoctoral fellows, the majority of whom were foreign nationals. Currently SU is hosting 292 postdocs. That means the postdoctoral cohort size is already greater than one quarter of the teaching and research (C1) personnel."

He said the revised policy seeks to distinguish postdoctoral fellows from postgraduate students and academic staff. In the revised policy postdoctoral fellows are defined as "…doctoral graduates who are establishing their academic research careers by primarily conducting research but can also undertake other academic activities such as lecturing and co-supervision of postgraduate students, under the supervision of a host at the University."

The revised policy is currently being considered for approval by Senate.

Dr. Henriques, new PDS chair, says 2017 will see an even larger postdoc cohort at SU: "We look forward to work in close proximity with the Division for Research Development and Prof. Eugene Cloete to set the new policy in place and to ensure that the postdoctoral experience at Stellenbosch University is the best it can be."