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25 April 2019 | Story Mamosa Makaya

Since 2016, the University of the Free State Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has received a grant from First National Bank worth R2 498 000, which supports tertiary bursaries for students with disabilities. Bursary holders are funded through CUADS, as the administrator of the bursaries.
  
These are students enrolled for various academic programmes who require academic assistance and/or assistive devices such as electronic handheld magnifiers, laptops, and hearing aids. The FNB grant also covers tuition, accommodation, study material and books, and meals.  The success of the grant is already evident, with one of the recipients having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2018. A second student was capped at the April 2019 graduations with a BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying.
 
Supporting the principles of the ITP

The UFS received the grant from FNB in instalments, starting in the 2016 academic year to date, supporting the needs of 40 disabled students. This grant and the work of CUADS speaks to and supports the principles of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP), namely inclusivity, transformation, and diversity. The vision of the Universal Access work stream is to enable the UFS to create an environment where students with disabilities can experience all aspects of student life equal to their non-disabled peers. The ITP provides for the recognition of the rights of people with disabilities as an important lesson in social justice and an opportunity to reinforce university values.

The successful administration of the grant to benefit past and present students is a ‘feather in the cap’ of CUADS, and is a shining example of the impact of public private investment and the endless possibilities that open up when there is a commitment to developing future leaders in academic spaces, allowing them to thrive by creating a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering. 



News Archive

Names are not enough: a molecular-based information system is the answer
2016-06-03

Description: Department of Plant Sciences staff Tags: Department of Plant Sciences staff

Prof Wijnand Swart (left) from the Department of
Plant Sciences at the UFS and Prof Pedro Crous
from the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS),
in the Netherlands.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

South Africa is the second-largest exporter of citrus in the world, producing 60% of all citrus grown in the Southern Hemisphere. It exports more than 70 % of its citrus crop to the European Union and USA. Not being able to manage fungal pathogens effectively can have a serious impact on the global trade in not only citrus but also other food and fibre crops, such as bananas, coffee, and cacao.

The Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted a public lecture by Prof Pedro W. Crous entitled “Fungal Pathogens Impact Trade in Food and Fibre: The Need to Move Beyond Linnaeus” on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Prof Crous is Director of the world’s largest fungal Biological Resource Centre, the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS), in the Netherlands. He is also one of the top mycologists in the world.

Since the topic of his lecture was very pertinent to food security and food safety worldwide, it was co-hosted by the Collaborative Consortium for Broadening the Food Base, a multi-institutional research programme managed by Prof Wijnand Swart in the Department of Plant Sciences.

Reconsider the manner in which pathogens are identified

Prof Crous stressed that, because international trade in products from agricultural crops will expand, the introduction of fungal pathogens to new regions will increase. “There is therefore an urgent need to reconsider the manner in which these pathogens are identified and treated,” he said.

According to Prof Crous, the older Linnaean system for naming living organisms cannot deal with future trade-related challenges involving pests and pathogens. A system, able to identify fungi based on their DNA and genetic coding, will equip scientists with the knowledge to know what they are dealing with, and whether it is a friendly or harmful fungus.

Description: The fungus, Botrytis cinerea Tags: The fungus, Botrytis cinerea

The fungus, Botrytis cinerea, cause of grey mould
disease in many fruit crops.
Photo: Prof Wijnand Swart

Embrace the molecular-based information system

Prof Crous said that, as a consequence, scientists must embrace new technologies, such as the molecular-based information system for fungi, in order to provide the required knowledge.

He presented this very exciting system which will govern the manner in which fungal pathogens linked to world trade are described. This system ensures that people from different countries will know with which pathogen they are dealing. Further, it will assist with the management of pathogens, ensuring that harmful pathogens do not spread from one country to another.

More about Prof Pedro Crous


Prof Crous is an Affiliated Professor at six international universities, including the UFS, where he is associated with the Department of Plant Sciences. He has initiated several major activities to facilitate global research on fungal biodiversity, and has published more than 600 scientific papers, many in high impact journals, and authored or edited more than 20 books.

 

 

Biography Prof Pedro Crous
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B


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