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Shining the spotlight on our Matie volunteers the spotlight on our Matie volunteersDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p></p><p><em>It's International Volunteer Day and with over 600 Matie volunteers making a remarkable impact, we'd like to shine the spotlight on a few volunteers whose unwavering commitment and passion strengthen our global Matie network.</em></p><p><a href=""><em><strong>International Volunteer Day</strong></em></a><em> is celebrated annually on 5 December and serves as an opportunity to recognise and appreciate the invaluable contributions of volunteers worldwide. The day highlights the impact of volunteering on various social, economic and environmental issues, emphasising the power of individuals to make a positive difference in their communities.</em><em> </em></p><p>Three remarkable alumnae, <strong>Lani Swart, Tania Coetzee and Mariaan Venter</strong>, who are based in the United Kingdom, are on a mission to give back through their involvement with the Stellenbosch Women Alumnae Network (SWAN). The three embarked on the London-to-Brighton Cycle Ride to raise funds for SU students and reached their target of £1 000 in no time.<br></p><p>Matie alumnus <strong>Allan Boyle</strong> has conquered the formidable challenge of climbing 10 000m across various peaks in support of widening access to education. His goal was to conquer 10 000m of mountain climbing and at the same time raise €10 000 (R200 000) that would go towards bursary support for a student studying a postgraduate degree at the School of Data Science and Computational Thinking.</p><ul><li>You can still support him by donating here: <a href=""><strong></strong></a> </li></ul><p><strong>Sarah Camp</strong>, a final-year medical student from the Tygerberg campus, arrived in Hillcrest just outside Durban in KwaZulu-Natal on 4 November after cycling from Worcester - for ten days – a distance of more than 1 500 km. Inspired by Prof Thuli Madonsela's efforts to assist students with university debt, the young doctor-to-be completed this phenomenal journey to raise funds for #Action4Inclusion, a student debt alleviation initiative by SU's Centre for Social Justice. </p><ul><li>At an average of 150 km per day, she had completed a Cape Town Cycle Tour plus, every day for ten days. </li></ul><p><strong>Marilet Daniel</strong> ran the Berlin Marathon and raised awareness and much-needed funds for the University's #Move4Food campaign that aims to combat food insecurity among students at SU. Marilet, who works as a chartered accountant in Amsterdam, had no problem reaching her target of 1 000 euros.</p><p>The <strong>Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences</strong> supported students living with food insecurity by hosting a 'Spring Table' event at Reuben's Restaurant & Bar in Franschhoek on Heritage Day.  A part of the proceeds of the event – which is the brainchild of <strong>Prof Karin Baatjes, Vice-Dean: Teaching and Learning</strong> – will be used to minimise food insecurity among students in the faculty.</p><p>“Through dedicated volunteerism during the Cape Town Cycle Tour, I've been privileged to make a lasting impact on students facing financial barriers at Stellenbosch University. Together as Maties, we're not just raising funds; we're creating pathways to education, breaking down barriers, and shaping brighter futures."<strong> – Lewis T Mboko, master's student in Economics</strong></p><ul><li>Want to get involved? <a href=""><strong>CLICK HERE</strong></a> for all the available opportunities. ​</li></ul>
New group of Dell Young Leaders start their journey group of Dell Young Leaders start their journeyDevelopment & Alumni Relations<div>Not even the rain could dampen the spirit of hope and exuberance among the 213 Stellenbosch University first-year students welcomed into the Dell Young Leaders programme at a recent launch event. This is the largest cohort of students onboarded into the programme at the university to date.<br></div><div><br></div><div>The Dell Young Leaders programme – funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation – is designed to empower university students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend university, to achieve their goal of reaching graduation and starting a meaningful career. The programme includes personalised advice and resources for students’ academic, financial, wellness and career wellbeing.</div><div><br></div><div>The 2023 cohort of Dell Leaders students at SU were selected from six of its faculties: AgriSciences; Economic and Management Sciences; Education; Engineering; Medicine and Health Sciences; and Science.</div><div><br></div><div>Linke Bredenkamp, a Nursing and Midwifery student, said being selected as a Dell Young Leaders student is a life-changing moment for her.</div><div><br></div><div>"Last year my parents told me that if I do not get a bursary, they would not be able to fund my studies. Now, I am able to pursue my dream of helping people in need. The beautiful thing about nursing is that you are there for people during the most important and difficult times in their lives, such as births, deaths and illness. For me that is the most important part of this job because it means so much for people to have someone there who really cares. Sure, knowing your work is important but just being there for someone is the most important and satisfying thing for me. Thanks to this scholarship I will be able to do just that."</div><div><br></div><div>Civil Engineering student Alie-Saadique Saban said he is thankful for the financial assistance the scholarship will provide.</div><div><br></div><div>"It’ll help me to become more independent and to not rely on my parents who also have to financially support my younger brother. Now I do not have to constantly worry about money and can solely focus on my studies."</div><div><br></div><div>Key stakeholders from SU, including faculty Deans and members of the rectorate, as well as representatives and leadership from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in South Africa, India and the United States also attended the event.</div><div><br></div><div>In his keynote address, Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, SU Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching, said: “The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is doing a phenomenal job in partnering with our higher education institutions to drive what is the most important thing for any university – students’ success. We are very proud to be associated with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.”</div><div><br></div><div>He reminded the 2023 cohort that being a Dell Young Leaders student not only affords you a financial award, but is also “a vote of confidence in your abilities and your potential to make a difference in the future”.</div><div><br></div><div>Ramjugernath also revealed that the Dell Young Leaders programme will henceforth be driven by the Responsibility Centre for Teaching and Learning at SU “to give student success the highest priority within our institution”. The programme was previously based within the Registrar’s division.</div><div><br></div><div>The launch event also provided an opportunity to reinforce the strong partnership between the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and SU. Since the launch of the SU partnership, as well as the onboarding of the 2023 cohort of 213 students, a total number of 662 scholarships have been awarded to Matie students. This means the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is on track to meet its target of supporting 1 000 Maties students by 2025.</div><div><br></div><div>Helen Vaughan, Programme Director in South Africa at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, said the programme aims to make a difference in the lives of students by providing the necessary support to ensure they reach their goal of graduating from university.</div><div><br></div><div>“Since the inception of the programme 13 years ago, we have witnessed students reaching their dreams, transitioning into meaningful employment, and making a lasting impact not only in their own lives, but the lives of their families and communities.”</div><div><br></div><div>Of the over 2 000 scholarships awarded to date across partner universities, the programme has been able to maintain a 97% persistence rate – this directly translates to students reaching their goal of graduating. A further 98% of graduates have started a job or gone on to career-enhancing further study within three months after graduating.</div><div><br></div><div>“We are incredibly committed to making sure that we are building the right partnerships with corporate SA, government and non-profit organisations in the social sector to make sure we are placing Dell Young Leaders graduates into meaningful employment after graduating from SU,” said Vaughan.</div><div><br></div><div>SU is one of three partner universities, along with the University of Cape Town and the University of Pretoria, that have partnered with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to facilitate the Dell Young Leaders programme.</div><div><br></div><div><ul><li>To find out more about the Dell Young Leaders programme visit <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>.</strong></li></ul></div><div><br></div><div><em>Photo: The 2023 cohort of Dell Leaders students at SU. (Je’nine May Photography)</em><br></div><p><br></p>
Giving Day: May we count on your support? Day: May we count on your support?Development & Alumni Relations<p><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size:9pt;font-family:verdana, sans-serif;"></span></p><div>There's never been a more important time to support our annual Stellenbosch University (SU) Giving Day. Before we tell you about the how, the what and the when, please take a moment to consider the following:</div><div><br></div><div>Together we can alleviate the burden of student debt and pave the way for brighter, debt-free futures.</div><div><br></div><div>Let's talk impact. There is a massive shortfall that impacts thousands of students. What does it translate to? Dedicated and hard-working Matie students not able to complete their education.</div><div><br></div><div>SU's Giving Day is an annual event that brings together students, faculties, staff, alumni, and the wider community in a collective effort to raise funds for bursaries, student meals, and student community initiatives. Literally, what a student needs to operate and negotiate the day successfully.</div><div><br></div><div>If each one of us lend our support to Giving Day, it will lead to one desired outcome after another. The idea that your donation helps to spare hard-working Matie students the stress and anxiety of their degree being in jeopardy and their studies cut short might be the most considerate gift you'll ever give.</div><div><br></div><div>If you would like to make an online Giving Day contribution, please <strong><a href="">CLICK HERE</a>.</strong></div><div><br></div><div>A Matie-infused selection of on-campus activities will further boost Giving Day proceeds. </div><div><br></div><div>Maties Giving Day reaches its crescendo with a grand on-campus Rooiplein celebration on Thursday 5 October 2023. Join us for a cycle spin-a-thon, Zumba classes, a movie marathon in the Neelsie, music galore with DJ Mshayi and friends, and mini sporting activities such as athletics, cricket, soccer, rugby, golf, hockey, netball and rowing.</div><div><br></div><div>For more information, visit: <strong><a href=""></a></strong></div><div><br></div><div>Cast your mind back to the day you got your degree. How wonderful if you could help a fellow Matie experience the same.</div><div><br></div><div>May we count on your support?<br></div><p><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size:9pt;font-family:verdana, sans-serif;">​</span><span style="font-size:9pt;font-family:verdana, sans-serif;"><br> </span>​<br></p>
Matieland Concert set to light up Homecoming 2023 Concert set to light up Homecoming 2023Development & Alumni Relations<p></p><div>Have you booked your tickets?<br></div><div><br></div><div>Stellenbosch University (SU) is shining the spotlight on talented alumni in the entertainment industry at its first-ever Matieland Concert on Saturday 16 September in Stellenbosch. The concert will feature extraordinary performances by violinist Kirsty Bows, well-known singer and songwriter, Koos Kombuis, the chart-topping singer-songwriter husband and wife duo, RAAF (previously known as Bottomless Coffee Band), and the winners from the recent University Acapella (Sêr) competition.<br></div><div><br></div><div>This Concert forms part of the University's annual Homecoming Weekend for alumni taking place from Thursday 14 September to Saturday 16 September on its Stellenbosch and Tygerberg campuses, where a host of events are taking place throughout the weekend.</div><div><br></div><div>These events include a Golf Day at the prestigious Stellenbosch Golf Club; the popular Maties Soirée that brings together Matie winemakers and makers of non-alcoholic beverages; esteemed business experts who will share their insights at a Business Breakfast; as well as various anniversary celebrations and reunions. </div><div><br></div><div>The Matieland Concert takes place at the Endler Hall, Conservatorium and starts at <strong>18:30. </strong>Tickets cost <strong>R200 per person</strong> and can be booked online at Quicket (<a href="" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK HERE</strong></a>).<br></div><div><br></div><div>The full programme of the weekend's events can be found <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>HERE</strong></a><strong>. </strong>If you have any queries, please send an email to or call +27 21 808 2710.</div><p>​<br></p>
New bursary donor centre elevates the importance of supporting student success bursary donor centre elevates the importance of supporting student successDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>​​Stellenbosch University (SU) officially opened its Masiphumelele Centre on Thursday 31 August, signifying a significant milestone in the meaningful engagement between existing bursary donors and the recipients of their generosity, SU students. This accomplishment, championed by the Senior Director: Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) at SU, Karen Bruns, actively strengthens student access and success at the University.<br></p><p>Thursday's inauguration ceremony brought together bursary and scholarship donors, including the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, the Crossley Foundation, Carl & Emily Fuchs Foundation, the Russel Botman Bursary Fund, Moshal Scholarship Programme, ISFAP, Feenix and Students for a Better Future, along with students and members of the SU community. </p><p>SU Registrar, Dr Ronel Retief, one of the speakers at the occasion, said education is the foundation upon which dreams are built, futures are shaped, and potential is realised. “We recognise that for our students to truly thrive, they need more than just financial support; they need an environment where they can grow, flourish, and connect. This Centre embodies that vision, providing a space for meaningful interactions between students, donors and the SU colleagues supporting the various programmes."   </p><p>Retief extended her gratitude to donors for their unwavering commitment to transform the lives of countless students. "You all are valued partners in the collaborative effort to help our students realise their aspirations. Together we are working towards opportunity, empowerment, and hope."</p><p><strong>'Let us succeed'</strong></p><p>The isiXhosa phrase 'masiphumelele', meaning 'let us succeed', inspired the name of the Centre, which originated from the efforts of the Development and Alumni Relations Division to extend its services to bursary and scholarship donors. The Masiphumelele Centre was funded through generous contributions from a number of donors.</p><p>This revitalised space on Banghoek Road, Stellenbosch, proximate to the engineering, arts and social sciences, law, and science faculties, offers an array of features, including office space, consultation rooms, flexible workspaces for students and donors, an area conducive to guiding conversations and mentorship, and a small workshop room accommodating 12 to 14 individuals.</p><p>Bruns emphasised the altruism of bursary donors who wholeheartedly support students' educational pursuits and ambitions. “The Centre represents a significant step towards enhancing the University's service to these critical supporters of the access and success of our students, while also underscoring our commitment to our students' holistic well-being and dignity."</p><p>The name 'Masiphumelele Centre' emerged as the clear choice through a survey conducted in May 2023 among bursary recipients, donors and staff who will be invited to use the space. Through sentiment analysis it was determined that students appreciated the unified vision of the University, the SU donors and fellow students to succeed and progress, with one respondent saying, “The Masiphumelele Centre will be for a community of individuals who wish to work together for a better future." Another student said, “Masiphumelele is a call for all people to come together for a common purpose, which is to thrive, as all of us should."</p><p>Bruns, added, “The Division takes immense pride in fulfilling its responsibility of facilitating institutional engagement between donors and the beneficiaries of their generosity. The Masiphumelele Centre will be instrumental in creating a physical space for collaboration and a common purpose. As a testament to SU's dedication to nurturing these essential relationships with donors, the Centre is symbolic of both our commitment to a good donor experience and to our student success."</p><p><strong>About</strong> <strong>Development and Alumni Relations (DAR)</strong></p><p>The Development and Alumni Relations Division builds relationships, creates awareness and generates support for the University's academic, research and social impact vision. The Division strives to ensure the future success of SU by securing private philanthropic donations and engages donors on the priorities most important to them. Putting donors at the centre of the process, DAR fosters an environment where excellence in student, staff and community interaction can be achieved through philanthropy and corporate funding.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Stellenbosch University installs sanitary pad dispensing machines on campus University installs sanitary pad dispensing machines on campusDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p></p><p>​Stellenbosch University (SU) has taken a significant step towards eradicating period poverty by installing state-of-the-art sanitary pad dispensing machines on campus. The installation was made possible by the generous financial support of a UK-based donor.<br></p><p>Two units have been installed on the Stellenbosch campus, and a third unit will be set up on the Tygerberg campus in Bellville in the coming weeks.</p><p>In South Africa, period poverty affects more than seven million young women, forcing many to choose between buying food or sanitary products. Many female students at SU also share this experience, lacking sufficient resources to access these products, which in turn unduly impacts their education, physical health, and mental well-being.</p><p>To tackle this issue on SU's campuses, the Development and Alumni Relations Division launched the #EndPeriodPoverty initiative as part of the University's Bridge The Gap Annual Fund (BTG). #EndPeriodPoverty aims to raise funds to purchase sanitary pad dispensing machines to address the stigma around menstruation and provide students with dignified access to female hygiene products.</p><p>"For the pilot phase, we have opted to purchase two large dispensing machines for our Stellenbosch campus that will dispense a total of 1 000 packs of pads a month and a smaller machine for our Tygerberg campus that will dispense 100 packs a month. Each pack contains eight locally manufactured, biodegradable sanitary pads. The machines will be refilled on a monthly basis," says Viwe Benxa, Alumni Relations Co-ordinator and BTG ambassador.</p><p>"Our students will be able to access the pads by tapping their student identity cards. In using the student identity card, we will be able to track the usage and determine the demand for the products which will subsequently inform our decision to make more machines available at more locations on our campuses."</p><p>The dispensing machines are strategically located in areas easily accessible to female students. For the Stellenbosch campus, the two locations are the Jan Mouton Learning Centre and outside the Tinie Louw Hall.</p><p>"We are hoping to raise enough funds for the next two installations earmarked for our Saldanha campus," Benxa adds. </p><ul style="list-style-type:disc;"><li>Visit <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a> to support this initiative.<br></li></ul>
A gift for the next generation of Maties gift for the next generation of Maties    Darryn Havenga<p>Last year Nick Smit, a graduate of Stellenbosch University, and his husband Francois Conradie decided it was time to reinvest some of their privileges into a positive bank balance for deserving students.<br></p><p>They are both employed at a global bank with headquarters in New York and in June 2022, the couple established the NY Postgraduate Bursary Fund.</p><p>Nick currently serves as a trustee and treasurer of the Friends of the University of Stellenbosch Foundation, a 501(c) entity registered in the US.</p><p>“We have received so many opportunities and exposure underpinned through the great education received from Stellenbosch University, that we could not think of a more precious gift to give to someone special," says Nick Smit.</p><p>State-subsidised funding for postgraduate studies is limited to research degrees, leaving a vast majority of students studying postgraduate level degrees without access to adequate funding sources. This is particularly hardest hitting on students from families where the joint household income is between $0 and $37 500 per annum.</p><p>The increased need to have a postgraduate degree to secure viable employment has called for increased financial support for post-graduate bursaries. Such an opportunity is not only a lifeline out of poverty for a deserving student, but equates to uplifting an extended family and a community.</p><p>The Fund will support successful undergraduate students from SU wishing to further their studies through honours' or masters' degrees at the University. They are students who come from families where the joint household income is R600 000/$37 500 per annum or less who do not qualify for government funding or loans.</p><p>For this Fund to be successful in supporting one student per year they need $9 650. We invite all our Maties, not only those in New York or the tri-state area, but across the US, to give generously and support the next generation of Maties at SU.</p><p>You can support the Fund by donating at<br> <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a><br></p><p>​<br></p>
Renowned international philanthropist invites SU choir and Rector to Japan international philanthropist invites SU choir and Rector to JapanDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>​Stellenbosch University (SU) Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers and 50 members of SU's internationally acclaimed choir are off to Tokyo, Japan, where they will participate in the ISPS Sports Values Summit‑Special Edition on Wednesday (9 August).<br></p><p>Prof De Villiers and the choir were invited by His Excellency Dr Haruhisa Handa, a renowned international philanthropist who is known for his longstanding commitment and contributions to public service and charities across the world.</p><p>Handa's support of various causes over several decades spans the arts and education, access to healthcare, disaster relief, empowerment of disabled individuals through sports, HIV/Aids education in Africa, promotion of democracy, religious tolerance and many other fields.</p><p>Notably, Handa serves as the co-founder and chancellor of the University of Cambodia with His Excellency Dr Kao Kim Hourn, the incumbent Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Handa has also been a major supporter of multiple universities in the UK, China, the US, Australia, Japan and South Africa. Handa's International Sport Promotion Society (ISPS Handa) will be hosting the ISPS Sports Values Summit-Special Edition 2023.</p><p>The summit will bring together sporting legends Dan Carter (former All Black rugby player), Nacho Figueras (one of the world's greatest polo players) and Steve James (Royal Australian Navy veteran and Invictus gold medallist). These legends will be in conversation as panellists alongside Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who will attend as the co‑founder and patron of <a href="">Sentebale</a> to discuss ways in which the power of sport can change lives and the impact of sports for philanthropy on the global stage.</p><p>De Villiers will participate in the panel discussion, while the SU Choir will display their musical talents with an opening act at the summit. The SU Choir has been ranked the leading mixed amateur choir in the world for the past 11 years by <a href="">Interkultur</a>, organisers of the World Choir Games.</p><p>De Villiers says: “We were grateful to receive the invitation from the founder and chairman of ISPS to participate in the summit. This gives Stellenbosch University the opportunity to make meaningful connections, and to contribute to the discussions with other distinguished participants at the summit.</p><p>“Stellenbosch University is committed to achieve excellence and to advance knowledge in service of society, and I believe we share a common vision with Dr Handa in making a positive impact on society."</p><p>SU Choir conductor André van der Merwe says: “We are honoured to have received this invitation and we are filled with excitement to showcase a taste of our rich South African culture on the global stage."<br></p><p><em></em></p><ul><li><em>​Photographer: Mark Cloete</em></li></ul><br>
Your contribution is a 'beacon of hope' contribution is a 'beacon of hope'Development & Alumni Relations<p>When Paige Schimper's student debt threatened to derail not only her academic career but also her career prospects, she would not have thought that a little-known Stellenbosch University (SU) bursary fund would present her with the clean slate she was praying for.<br></p><p>But that is exactly what happened when the Matie alumna became the first recipient of the EU/UK Bursary Fund in March 2023.</p><p>Established in 2019, the EU/UK Bursary Fund gives academically gifted but financially disadvantaged students the opportunity to pursue success at SU and reach their full potential. An amount of 8 000€ will provide at least one student, for one year, with a full bursary that covers tuition, housing, food and textbooks.<br></p><p>Schimper, who graduated with a BCom in Information Systems and Logistics and Supply Chain Management in 2021, takes up the story.<br></p><p>“When I started my first year in 2018, I was granted a NSFAS bursary that would fully fund me while I studied. However, in my final year, for the entire 2021, I had no money from NSFAS paid into my account. I was left with an unexpected amount of debt and no explanation. I was also not able to receive my degree or academic records because of my outstanding student account. From 2021 until March 2023, there were no payments forthcoming and I suffered tremendously under the emotional toll of the situation. Debt collectors were on my case and I struggled to find a job as most companies want to see your academic transcripts which I didn't have."</p><p>She says thankfully Karen Bruns, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations at SU, heard about her predicament and put her name forward to the directors of the EU/UK Bursary Fund.</p><p>“I was unaware of the bursary until Karen had told me about it. However, there are not enough words to describe the amount of gratitude I felt when I heard the news that I had received the bursary and that my debt would be settled. The weight of this burden disappeared into thin air and I was brought to tears, tears of relief, joy and appreciation. I could not believe that people can be so giving. I am extremely grateful and humbled by the generosity of all who contributed to making this all possible."<br></p><p>Schimper encourages her fellow alumni to consider contributing to the bursary fund.<br></p><p>“By giving to this bursary, you transform someone's future, allowing them to pursue their dreams that otherwise might seem unreachable. Your contribution goes beyond financial assistance, it serves as a beacon of hope, motivation, and belief in the abilities of aspiring individuals. Your generosity can make a lasting difference and serve as a catalyst for someone's success."<br></p><p>The Durban native, who recently started her first full time position as a junior information systems administrator, will herself start making a contribution to the fund this year.<br></p><p>“I would like to be part of the difference this could make to someone else's life like it did to mine," she says.<br></p><p>Prominent SU affiliates who contributed to the EU/UK Bursary Fund include SU's Vice-Chancellor and Rector Prof Wim de Villiers, who two years ago cycled the London to Brighton Cycle Ride with five Maties and friends to raise just over 8 000 pounds for the fund. ​</p>
Leading-edge Biomedical Research Institute a 'game changer' for healthcare in Africa Biomedical Research Institute a 'game changer' for healthcare in Africa Corporate Communication and Marketing Division / Afdeling Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking<p>​​The launch of its new state-of-the-art Biomedical Research Institute (BMRI) places Stellenbosch University (SU) at the forefront of biomedical sciences on the African continent. <br></p><p>The BMRI is a world-class biomedical research complex on par with the best in the world and is unparalleled, not only on the African continent, but the entire southern hemisphere, in terms of its cutting-edge facilities and extensive research capacity. </p><p>The BMRI, situated on SU's Tygerberg Campus in Cape town, is being inaugurated over the next week.</p><p>“The realisation of the BMRI resonates with SU's vision of being Africa's leading research-intensive university with the objective of being globally recognised for our excellence in innovation to advance knowledge in service of society," says Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor.</p><p>The facility houses more than 500 biomedical researchers and students, including some of the world's foremost scientists in the fields of bioinformatics, tuberculosis, neuroscience, and urology. The leading-edge research emanating from the facility has a decidedly African focus and seeks to understand the genetic and biomolecular basis of diseases afflicting South Africa and the rest of the African continent.</p><p>“Scientists at the BMRI conduct research that translates into discoveries that help improve the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of illnesses affecting the people of South Africa and the rest of Africa," says Prof Nico Gey van Pittius, Vice Dean: Research and Internationalisation of SU's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), where the BMRI is based.</p><p>Construction of this R1,2 billion facility (approximately US$ 66 million) commenced in 2018 and was completed in 2023 – despite major challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The planning and design of this multifaceted complex followed a future-focussed approach resulting in a high-performance research hub that is modular, functional and sustainable. </p><p>The BMRI boasts numerous state-of-the-art laboratories, including the largest (600m<sup>2</sup>) biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory and fully-automated biorepository in Africa, lecture and conference theatres equipped with the latest audio-visual technology, and large modern dissection halls custom-engineered to minimise formaldehyde exposure. The BMRI was also awarded a 4-star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa.</p><p>“The research conducted in the BMRI builds on SU's commitment to impactful research which takes into account the natural environment, health, human security as well as systems and technologies for the future. At the heart of our scientific endeavours, is the challenge to be locally relevant and globally competitive," says Prof Sibusiso Moyo, SU Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies.</p><p>The immense value of the BMRI was recognised even before its completion in 2023, and high-profile visitors, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, came to view the facility in 2022. The facility's potential was further endorsed when SU's Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI), located in the BMRI, was selected by the WHO as a partner-member of the first Covid mRNA Vaccine Technology Transfer Hub.</p><p>“The investment in the BMRI will allow significant human capacity development through training some of the best students from the continent and exposing them to extensive national and international research networks to results in a next generation of successful scientists," says Prof Elmi Muller, FMHS Dean. “The BMRI will be a game changer for healthcare in Africa and is true evidence of using breakthrough science to improve lives."</p><p> </p><p><strong>MORE ABOUT THE BMRI</strong></p><ul><li>The BMRI is the largest and most sophisticated research complex of its kind on the African continent and in the southern hemisphere.</li><li>Apart from the facilities mentioned above, the BMRI also hosts:</li><ul><li>A Bioinformatics hub;</li><li>Electron microscopy laboratories;</li><li>Proteomics and flow cytometry services (FACS) laboratories;</li><li>A Medical Morphological Learning Centre;</li><li>The Sunskill laboratory; and</li><li>Clinical research facilities.</li></ul><li>At 600m<sup>2</sup>, the BMRI hosts the largest biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory facilities on the African continent. BSL-3 laboratories are used to study infectious agents or toxins that may be transmitted through the air and cause potentially lethal infections. BSL-3 laboratories are designed to be easily decontaminated. </li><li>A system of negative air pressure keeps hazardous fumes or airborne toxins from flowing out of laboratories and into adjacent areas. A powerful ventilation and filtration plant continuously draw air out of laboratories and to the top of the building, where it is filtered and released.</li><li>The BMRI boasts advanced energy recovery technology fitted to the air system that reduces the building's carbon footprint compared to other similar buildings.</li></ul><p> </p><p><em>Click </em><a href="/english/faculty/healthsciences/biomedical-research-institute/Pages/Groups.aspx"><em>here</em></a><em> for more information on the research being conducted at the BMRI.</em></p><p><em>Click </em><a href="/english/Lists/Events/DispForm.aspx?ID=5476"><em>here</em></a><em> for more information about the BMRI launch activities taking place over the next week.</em></p><ul><li><em>Click </em><a href="/english/faculty/healthsciences/biomedical-research-institute/Pages/Resources.aspx#GB"><em>here</em></a><em> for a link to photos, videos and soundbites</em></li></ul><p><em><br></em></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>​<br></p>