23 April 2018 Photo Supplied
IKS researcher selected for SA Jamaica collaboration
Attending the signing ceremony of the collaborative agreement between the University of the West Indies and UFS was Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research; Dr Glen Taylor, Senior Director: Research Development; and Prof Motlalepula Matsabisa, Director of Pharmacology.

Prof Motlalepula Matsabisa, Director of Pharmacology at the University of the Free State’s Faculty of Health Sciences, is one of six researchers selected and recognised during the official launch of the South Africa and Jamaica Joint Research Projects and three-day Indigenous Knowledge Technology and Innovation workshop held at Eden Gardens Wellness Resort and Spa in Kingston, Jamaica, The South African contingent came from the UFS, University of KwaZulu-Natal and University of Zululand.

Collaborating to create new knowledge

The agreement is based broadly on the exchange of skills and ideas on projects surrounding medicinal plants and natural products and their effect on various diseases, including cancer. The project has received partial funding in terms of a joint bilateral agreement between the governments of Jamaica and South Africa. The South African recipients, in partnership with their Jamaican colleagues, will undertake three joint projects focusing on indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) and water research, which will be funded for a maximum period of three years, beginning this year.

The collaborative agreement signing ceremony between the University of the West Indies and the UFS was attended by Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research; Dr Glen Taylor, Senior Director: Research Development; and Prof Motlalepula Matsabisa. Among the UFS contingent were pharmacology researchers, Dr Chandrashekara Mahadevappa, postdoctoral fellow; Mirranda Javu, a community researcher; and Innocensia Mangoato, an MSc Pharmacology student who participated in the workshops and technical scientific discussions with Jamaican researchers and students.

During the visit, the UFS Department of Pharmacology conducted a two-day workshop on IKS with Jamaicans from universities, the government, private sector and communities. This was a joint workshop with South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation from South Africa.  

Mutually beneficial agreements 
According to Prof Matsabisa these funded collaborative research projects are part of the implementation of the bilateral agreement on science and technology between the two countries. 

Jamaica and South Africa both identified IKS and water to be the focus of the bilateral research. “The research agreements allow both institutions to conduct joint scientific research, training of students and researchers in identified fields, and in this instance, IKS, but agreements are not exclusive to IKS research.”

Prof Matsabisa says the main objective of the funded project is to assist Jamaica develop an IKS policy and ways of including communities in science research and  capacity development for students from both institutions. There will be an exchange of students, postdoctoral fellows and staff.


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