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29 April 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba
Government to enhance PhD production
University Staff Development Programme will capacitate PhD candidates in the tripartite Global Health programme.

Can you complete a PhD in three years? The answer is “yes!” However, a challenge of this magnitude requires a proper plan.The University Staff Doctorate Programme (USDP) will provide the blueprint for that plan to five high-calibre senior staff members at the University of the Free State (UFS) who have taken on the challenge to obtain PhDs.

What is the USDP?
The University of Venda and the University of Virginia in the US have partnered with our university to help transform South African academic expertise in Global Health. Leading the cohort is the UFS Office for International Affairs. This USDP project falls under the broader University Capacity Development Programme funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Candidates will be supported through mechanisms including an annual training school, visits to partner universities abroad, scholarships and reduced fees, interdisciplinary and inter-institutional co-supervision and expert advice, as well as parallel support for supervisors.

Members of the cohort

Chevon Slambee, Chief Internationalisation Officer at the Office for International Affairs, said: “These are established academics and role models in their respective areas of specialisation who have displayed strong leadership skills whilst showing a keen interest to collaborate with institutions in the US in order to advance their academic and professional careers.”

Our cohort comprises of Prof Riaz Seedat, Head: Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Dr Steven Matshidza, Head: Orthopaedic Surgery; Prof Shisana Baloyi, Head: Obstetrics and Gynaecology; Dr Edwin Turton, Head of and Senior Lecturer at the Department Anaesthesiology; and Prof Makoali Makotoko, Head: Cardiology, who will be funded by the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Carving changemakers

Three years later, this cohort will fulfil the National Development Plan to have 75% of university academic staff holding PhDs and becoming the dominant drivers of new knowledge production within the higher education science and innovation system by 2030.

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