The University Staff Doctoral Programme (USDP), funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), led and coordinated by Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences to support university staff members to complete their PhDs was launched in January 2021. The South Africa-UK University Staff Doctoral Programme (USDP) also involves Fort Hare University's Faculty of Management and Commerce and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Bath. Five candidates from each of the two South African partner institutions make up the cohort of ten USDP doctoral candidates:
The Stellenbosch University staff members who have been selected for the programme are:
Jacomien Van der Merwe
Jacomien holds a Master's degree in Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics. She has 10+ years' experience working as a transport economist within the transport consultancy industry and continued her professional career as an academic and researcher at the University of Stellenbosch in 2017. She is passionate about the development and implementation of financial and economic sustainable solutions which specifically drives down inequalities within developing countries.
PhD topic: Investigating the impact of transport accessibility on employee churn rates within the lower skilled labour market in South Africa
She is supervised by Prof. Stephan Krygsman (Department of Logistics) and Prof. Ingrid Woolard (Department of Economics) at Stellenbosch and by Dr Kerry Papps in the Department of Economics at Bath.
Mosima lectures introductory economics at Stellenbosch University and holds a Master's degree in Economics. Her specific interests are health economics and, more specifically, health and inequality. She is also particularly interested in qualitative research methods and how they can be used effectively in acquiring a deeper understanding of the health problems in South Africa.
PhD topic: Health Inequalities in South Africa: A relational equality approach
She is supervised by Prof Ronelle Burger (Department of Economics) at Stellenbosch and by Prof Ajit Mishra in the Department of Economics at Bath.
Kurt Marais is a lecturer for the Department of Logistics at Stellenbosch University. Kurt completed his MCom in Operations Research (cum laude) at Stellenbosch in 2018, and has been a lecturer with the department since 2019. He is passionate about music and enjoys finding new ways of applying mathematical optimisation techniques to modern real-world scenarios.
PhD topic: A social network analysis on behaviours that influence mental health and wellbeing
He is supervised by Prof Stephan Visage and Dr Lieschen Venter (Department of Logistics) at Stellenbosch and by Dr Stephanie Merchant in the Department for Health at Bath.
Ashlene Van der berg Ross
Ashlene Van der Berg-Ross is a committed lecturer with 3+ years of experience in teaching students from various social and cultural backgrounds. She holds a Master's of Commerce degree in Public and Development Management from Stellenbosch University. Her field of study is Human Resource Management and Public Administration.
PhD topic: Investigating the relationship between Local Government Human Resource Development (HRD) Practices and Organisational Performance – the Case of Local Government Western Cape
She is supervised by Prof. Zwelinzima Ndevu (School of Public Leadership) at Stellenbosch and Prof Juani Swart in the School of Management at Bath.
Megan Bruwer is a transportation engineer (B.Eng Civil, 2008; M.Eng Transportation, 2010). She worked in industry, involved in the design of public transport systems and roads, before joining the Civil Engineering Department of Stellenbosch University as a lecturer in 2015. In 2017 she was awarded the Teaching Excellence Award by the Faculty of Engineering.
PhD topic: Evaluating traffic state from historical Floating Car Data in a developing country context
She is supervised by Prof Johann Andersen (Department of Civil Engineering) at Stellenbosch and by Dr Ian Walker in the Department of Psychology at Bath.
The Fort Hare University staff members who have been selected for the programme are:
Anele is a Development Management and Development Strategies lecturer at the University of Fort Hare. He holds a Master's degree in Development Management from Ruhr University Bochum in Germany. His research interests are in social policy, entrepreneurship and rural-urban migration, and he has led a team of researchers conducting a study on the impact of economic spin-off of heritage and tourism for Mnquma municipality from 2017-2018.
PhD topic: Land Acquisition and Sustainable Human Settlement Development in South Africa: The Case Eastern Cape and Western Cape Provinces
She is supervised by Prof Andries Bezuidenhout (Department of Development Studies) at Fort Hare and by Prof. James Copestake in the in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences at Bath.
Besuthu Hlafa holds a Masters (Mcom) degree in Economics, specialising in Health Economics. He is also a passionate Lecturer with 3+ years of experience teaching Micro and Macro Economics, Development Economics and Transport Economics at Fort Hare's Department of Economics. He is dedicated to furthering his career in academia and improving the sets of skills he already possesses.
PhD topic: The Impact of education on health behaviour and health outcomes In South Africa
His supervisor team includes Prof Ronelle Burger (Department of Economics) at Stellenbosch, Prof Forget Kapingura at Fort Hare and Dr Matt Dickson at the Institute for Policy Research at Bath.
Zikhona is an Administrator at the Department of Business Management at the University of Fort Hare. She holds Master's degree in Social Science (Psychology). In 2016, Zikhona worked as a National Research Foundation (NRF) intern, and gained experience in administrative support and research. She has published in the South African Journal of Human Resource Management. Her research interests are in career development and counselling, information and communication technology in education and organisational behaviour.
PhD topic: Decent Work in Rural South Africa: Testing a Calling-Needs and Teacher Self-Concept Model
She is supervised by Prof Willie Chinyamurindi (Department of Business Management) at Fort Hare and by Dr Katharina Chudzikowski in the School of Management at Bath.
Mongi Tshaka, 26, is a PhD candidate at the University of Fort Hare. His research interest is in the interaction of finance and informality with job creation and livelihood. He currently works as a student assistant at Fort Hare's Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre where he is responsible for academic conferences and trainings. He further brings experience in the academic field, including research, lecturing and tutoring.
PhD topic: The contribution of informal finance to livelihood and job creation in South Africa
He is supervised by Prof Munacinga Simatele (Department of Economics) at Fort Hare and by Prof James Copestake in the in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences at Bath.
Nqobile Mpala is a Lecturer for the Department of Economics in the University of Fort Hare. She holds a Masters degree in Economics (Financial Markets). Her research interests are in financial market regulation, behavioural finance and derivatives.
PhD topic: Examining the macroeconomic impact of capital flows in selected SADC countries
Supervised by Prof. Forget Kapingura (Department of Economics) at Fort Hare and Dr Aurelie Charles** in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences at Bath.