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SU to host first postdoctoral conference in Southern Africa
Author: Corporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]
Published: 02/10/2018

The first postdoctoral conference in Southern Africa will take place at Stellenbosch University (SU) from Wednesday 3 October to Friday 5 October 2018. The event, which is organised by SU's Postdoctoral Society, will be held at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies. Prior to the conference proper on Thursday (starting at 09H00), a welcoming function will be held on Wednesday evening at Stellenbrau in Stellenbosch.

Forming part of SU' Centenary commemoration, the conference celebrates 100 years of education at the institution.

Themed 100 years into the future, it brings together postdoctoral researchers from across South Africa and other parts of the continent to talk about their work. The aim is to create an interdisciplinary forum and to emphasize the importance of postdoctoral fellows to drive research for the next 100 years. The conference will feature two interdisciplinary workshops, 57 oral presentations and nine posters from all over South Africa and beyond.

​Presentations will focus on a wide range of issues within the fields of African history, Education, Medicine and Health Sciences to Technology, Biology and Agriculture. Some of the topics to be discussed include the decolonisation of social work education; school-based cybersecurity; causes of neonatal mortality; gender equality in educational leadership; biomolecules and nanotechnology; the management of employee wellbeing; job insecurity in South Africa's Higher Education, and the importance of social innovation systems for sustainable development.

Reflecting on the importance of the conference, Chairperson of the Stellenbosch Postdoctoral Society and member of the organising committee Dr Natasha Mothapo says “postdocs are the research muscle at universities, driving research outputs and innovation. We believe that gatherings such as these are very important to assist in driving collaborations for the future since we are the ones who will be the academics of the future within universities."

“The research narrative in Africa is changing, so is the face of research and its impact on our communities. For the next 100 years, where should research in Africa be going? Where should we focus? What can we do to put Africa in the lead globally? 

Mothapo says they hope that these are some of the discussions that will emerge at the conference.

The number of postdoctoral research fellows at SU increased by 40% since 2015, with more than 350 registered during 2017, with a nearly 50% split between national and international fellows.

  • For more information on the conference or to attend the event, please liaise with Dr Natasha Mothapo at tel 021 808 43 87 or e-mail