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06 March 2020 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Dr Ocaya
Dr Richard Ocaya’s research addresses the skills development and transfer millennium goal of many governments globally.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution becoming a reality, Dr Richard Ocaya’s research is receptive to the fact that Africa and the world need to re-imagine their research. His research focuses on electronic instrumentation design for scientific measurements, computational physics on atomic nano-atomic structures, and semiconducting organic compounds materials built on silicon to realise Schottky devices.

Software developer 
“I develop most of the instrumentation that I apply in my research – both software and hardware,” said Dr Ocaya, a Physics Lecturer and Programme Director: Physics and Chemistry on the UFS Qwaqwa Campus.

“I am active in scientific computing through the computing cluster and software development, mathematical physics for material science modelling, and embedded instrumentation design using microprocessors. I also have deep interest in radio and data telemetry, in which I hold a South African patent issued in 2013. My present international collaborations are with like-minded researchers in similar fields in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Japan, Egypt, South Korea, and the United States,” he added.

How does his research talk to the real world?
“The driving principle of all areas of my research has always been to deploy cutting-edge research to actual, real-world applications for the immediate betterment of Africans. The areas of my research align closely with the millennium goals of many governments globally, including the Republic of South Africa. These goals pertain to skills development and transfer that position us to better address the challenges of energy, water, and other priorities.”

Dr Ocaya is currently co-promoting a PhD student, having previously supervised one PhD, two MSc, and more than twenty honours students. He is a self-taught electronics and computer programmer, whose curiosity led him to question ‘the voices and music coming from a box; a radio’. “In my quest to satisfy my curiosity, I collected many discarded devices, took them apart, and tried so many circuits, only to have them fail because the theory was lacking. After thousands of failed projects and with me barely thirteen and in lower secondary school, my first ever project actually worked,” he said.

NRF-rating
He is the author of the book Introduction to Control Systems Analysis using Point Symmetries: An application of Lie Symmetries, which is available in all major bookstores such as Amazon, in both print and e-book format. He is a C3 NRF-rated researcher whose work makes a pioneering contribution to the new and growing field of phononics, an independent field of the now established photonics.

“This field will someday lead to improved energy-storage devices and faster processors due to more efficient heat removal from nanodevices,” he concludes.


News Archive

UFS increases admission requirements
2010-07-26

Admissions criteria for entry to undergraduate programmes at the University of the Free State (UFS) will be increased with immediate effect. This means that students who begin their undergraduate studies in 2011 will need to meet the new admissions criteria in order to register.

“Increasing admissions requirements is a critical component of our unwavering commitment to excellent academic standards and educational quality at the UFS,” said Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Teaching and Learning at the UFS.

“The challenge of student success at most South African universities is something that has attracted increasing attention over the past few years. We believe that it is our responsibility as an educational institution to admit students that we are confident are likely to be successful, and also to provide the very best quality of teaching and learning to ensure success.”

The university is also acutely aware that large numbers of young people in the country attend schools that are not adequately resourced to provide the quality of schooling needed for successful university study.

“We are thus committed to working with schools and with talented learners in order to address this challenge,” said Prof. Hay.

“The university currently has several initiatives in this regard. Further, our innovative and extremely successful University Preparation Programme (UPP) provides an opportunity for students with potential who do not meet the university entrance criteria to complete a bridging year that prepares them for the rigours of university.”

For students who begin their studies in 2011 the following changes will come into effect:

  • The minimum requirement for entry into undergraduate programmes will increase from 28 points to 30 points.
  • The minimum requirement for entry into extended programmes will increase from 23 points to 25 points.
  • The minimum requirement for entry into the University Preparation Programme will increase from 17 points to 20 points.
  • Subject-specific requirements specified by faculties will remain the same, except for Natural and Agricultural Sciences (contact the Faculty Manager at 051 401 3199).
  • All programmes that already require a minimum score of 30 points and above will not be changed.
  • The minimum entrance criteria for the B.Ed. Foundation Phase and B.Ed. Intermediate Phase will increase from 23 points to 25 points.
  • The minimum entrance criteria for B.Soc.Sc. Nursing will increase from 28 to 29 points.

Performance in the National Benchmark Tests will be used for placing students into academic support modules as needed.

These test results will not be used for admissions decisions in 2011, except for Faculties where it is used as part of their selection process.
Prospective students are encouraged to submit their applications for study in 2011 as soon as possible.
For telephone enquiries, please dial 051 401 3000.

 

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
26 July 2010
 

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