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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

Nine Kovsie students awarded NAC bursaries
2015-02-19

The UFS is proud to announce that nine of our Drama and Theatre Arts undergraduate students have been awarded National Arts Council (NAC) bursaries for their studies in 2015.

From the left in the photograph, these students are:

• Mbuyiselo Nqodi (first year)
• Marike Jonker (second year)
• Monique de Klerk (second year)
• Aldine van der Merwe (third year)
• Kado Cloete (third year)
• Rondo Mpiti (third year)
• Magnus McPhail (third year)
• Olivia Wyngaard (third year)
• Marica Laing (second year)

This year the amount awarded for the NAC busaries is R70 000.

Since 2005, the NAC has given bursaries to the UFS for the last 10 years. The amount varies from year to year.

“The number of undergraduate students who benefit varies depending on the amount allocated each year,” said Prof Nico Luwes, Head of the Drama and Theatre Arts Department at the UFS.

“Some years, the NAC prescribes how many students will be awarded a bursary and provides a profile of gender and academic prerequisites. Other years, such as the present one, there is no prescription and the UFS was able to cater for the applications submitted, and the number of students who will benefit, within the amount awarded. Normally, it is divided between successful candidates.”

The criteria according to which NAC bursaries are awarded to students every year include academic merit and, of course, their financial situation.”

“The full information of applicants from the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts is checked by the selection committee – all permanent members of staff in the department. The names are then sent to the NAC for approval.
UFS Finances ensures further that the bursary money is paid into the student’s class fees account. During the year and at the end, I report to the NAC on the progress shown by bursary holders. This, in turn, contributes to the excellent co-operation with the NAC so that the following year’s application is then generally successful,” says Luwes.

Bursary monies cover mainly registration and class fees for some or all modules, depending on the amount awarded.

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