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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

NRF commits R30-million for research at the UFS
2007-02-20

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has committed approximately R30-million for various research projects at the University of the Free State (UFS).
 
According to Prof Frans Swanepoel, Director of Research Development at the UFS, the NRF has also approved all eight research niche areas that were submitted to the NRF, the highest number approved at any university in the country.
 
Prof Swanepoel said the 24 research projects for which funding had been obtained from the NRF ranged from traditional healing and HIV/Aids/tuberculosis management, practices of the paediatric anti-retroviral programme at the UFS to nano-materials synthesis and characterisation.
 
He said the eight research niche areas were part of an initiative at the UFS to establish strategic clusters of academic and research excellence.
 
“There will be six strategic academic clusters at the UFS and the eight NRF-approved research niche areas will form part of them,” Prof Swanepoel said.
 
The six strategic clusters are:
1.         Water management in water-scarce areas
2.         New frontiers in poverty reduction and sustainable development
3.         Social transformation in diverse societies
4.         Ecologically sound value chains for agricultural commodities
5.         Materials and nano sciences
6.         Advanced bio-molecular research
 
Prof Swanepoel said that the UFS had also submitted five proposals in terms of an NRF initiative to establish research chairs at South African universities.
 
“Linked to our intention to establish six strategic academic clusters, five proposals for the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARCHi) were submitted. All five pre-proposals were accepted in the first round of screening, and successful candidates have been invited to submit full proposals by the end of February,” he said.
 
The proposed research chairs are:
 
Petro- and organometallic chemistry
Biocatalytic and biomimetic oxidation-reduction systems
Nano-solid state lighting
People’s health and well-being
Water management
 
Speaking at the official opening of the university earlier this month, the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof Frederick Fourie, said: “The cluster initiative represents a strategic initiative to focus our energies in a few key areas, investing in them so that the UFS can become an international leader in those fields.”
 
“A medium sized university such as the UFS with relatively limited human, physical and financial resources has to achieve this kind of ‘critical mass’ and synergy to establish itself in terms of its core functions of teaching/learning, research and community engagement,” said Prof Fourie.
 
Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
20 February 2007

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