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Prof Luyt says young researchers should not allow circumstances to determine their future
2016-02-01

Description: Prof Riaan Luyt Tags: Prof Riaan Luyt

Prof Riaan Luyt, an NRF B-rated researcher
Photo: Supplied

Young researchers, who spend their life at a disadvantaged and rural campus like the University of the Free State’s Qwaqwa Campus, should not be deterred from achieving their dreams.

This is the view of Prof Riaan Luyt, former Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, who achieved his B-rating by the National Research Foundation (NRF) late in 2015. This was by far the highest-ever rating on the Qwaqwa Campus.

“When I moved to the Qwaqwa Campus many years ago, having had the opportunity to do a post-doctoral fellowship in Polymer Science at the Leeds University in the United Kingdom, I was determined to get the Department of Chemistry off the ground, and to embark on serious research,” said Prof Luyt, who is now the Affiliated Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Research Associate Professor at the Centre for Advanced Materials, based at Qatar University.

“It was through sheer determination that I managed to obtain enough funds to equip a decent research laboratory. There were many obstacles over the years, but I managed to attract more and more postgraduate students and published more,” he said.

At first, Prof Luyt was not successful with his NRF-rating applications.

“My first couple of attempts to get rated produced no success. I was then awarded a C3-rating, which was later followed by C2 and then C1,” he added. “Getting a B-rating is the highlight of my research career. It shows that it can be done. Young researchers should not allow their past or present circumstances, or their work environment to stand on their way,” said Prof Luyt, who has supervised 38 master’s and doctoral students as well as 11 postdoctoral fellows. He has also published 185 papers in international and accredited journals.

Although abroad, Prof Luyt will continue to supervise eight postgraduate students at the Qwaqwa Campus.

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