Friends of UKZN Agriculture | February 2015
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28th February 2015

Hi Friends and Alumni

We're well into the second month of 2015 and we hope that it has been a wonderful first two months of the year for you.

UKZN Welcomes New Vice Chancellor & Principal, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld

Albert van Jaarsveld

 Pictured here are Corporate Relations Executive Director Lesiba Seshoka, former Vice Chanchellor Professor Malegapuru Makgoba and Vice Chancellor Dr Albert van Jaarsveld

"Dr Albert van Jaarsveld is the new Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and assumed duty on the 2 February 2015. He was until recently Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation. His career in research, teaching and leadership include academic and management positions at the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch, as Dean of Science, Adjunct Professor: Environmental Studies Programme at Dartmouth College, USA, Vice President and more recently, President and CEO of the National Research Foundation.
He obtained his PhD in Zoology from the University of Pretoria. Pursued post-doctoral studies and research in Conservation Biology and Global security in Australia and the UK respectively and completed executive management training at Harvard University. His research work focussed on biodiversity and conservation planning, biodiversity and climate change as well as ecosystem services. He was appointed full Professor at both the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch and has published in excess of 100 primary research papers, including highly cited works in Science and Nature.
During his tenure as CEO of the National Research Foundation, the budget of the NRF increased from R 2bn to R 4bn and the organisation contributed to driving excellence and transformation across the national research landscape. Over this period ISI research outputs increased by 48% and PhD graduations by 57%. The number of NRF rated researchers increased by 56%, black rated researchers by 55% and women rated researchers by 36%. The NRF increased doctoral support by 48% and the global research citation impact of South African science increased by 25% between 2009 and 2014. In addition, SALT became fully operational, Africa won the SKA bid and infrastructure investment at Universities and Science Councils were dramatically increased.Capital investments of R300m were made to rejuvenate the National Research Facilities. 
Dr van Jaarsveld is recipient of numerous Professional Awards, including awards as an Outstanding Young Scientist; Outstanding Academic Achiever; the Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Tuition and Learning from the University of Pretoria; University of Stellenbosch Vice-Chancellors award for Research Excellence; and the Centenary Medal for distinguished career in research, teaching and leadership from the “South African Academy of Science and Arts”. He is co-recipient of the International Zayed prize for the Environment, a member of several professional and academic organisations and associations, including being a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and an elected member of the South African Academy of Sciences.
On the international front, Dr van Jaarsveld has served as co-chair of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment follow-up: Sub-global assessments; member of the ICSU nominations committee; as IPBES science focal point; Chair of the G8 science ministers Group of Senior Officials on Global Research Infrastructure; and Chair of the International Group of Funding Agencies (IGFA), Co-Chair of the Belmont Forum and as a member of the ICSU review panel (2013-2014)."


- Information sourced from the UKZN website

A word about our sponsors

Friends of UKZN Agriculture, as an alumnus association, was set up in 2012 by alumni and staff members who realised that there was a need to revitalise many of the relationships between the School of Agriculture and its graduates and agribusinesses in the region that the School continued to support through producing top quality graduates to contribute to the industry.

The association stepped in to fill the gap where contacts had been lost due to considerable change at UKZN, believing that the quality of education in agriculture is still the best there is in South Africa and committed to ensuring that this School is recognised for all that it has to offer.

For the first few months of the association's existence, it was operated by the committee, who all have other full-time occupations, before it hired its first full-time staff member, Lisa Thompson, in November 2012. Lisa was funded by the University until her resignation in September 2013.

In November 2013, Christine Cué
nod took over as Networking Facilitator and, since there was no available funding from the University at the time, has been funded by Lima on a short-term basis until the association is self-funding. This strategy, however, cannot operate on a long-term basis and so the co-operation and generosity of alumni and sponsors will soon be essential if Friends of UKZN Agriculture is to continue into the future.

We would like to thank Lima, Sutherland Seedlings and Mr Duncan Hay for their generous pledges and support of this association, and appeal to our other alumni and friends to consider supporting us by making either corporate or personal pledges, which can be made once-off or on a regular basis. Pledges are made through the UKZN Foundation and donors may be awarded an 18A tax certificate upon request. Christine can provide you with a pledge form to facilitate the process.

Featured Discipline

The discipline of Animal and Poultry Science has been an integral part of the agricultural disciplines of the University since the consolidation of the Faculty of Agriculture in the late 1940's, when it was chaired by the fourth professor appointed to the Faculty, Prof G.B. Laurence. The Faculty began with a focus on Poultry Husbandry and Anatomy, Physiology and Animal Diseases and saw many great scientists pass through its halls, men like Peter Barrowman, Neil Ferguson, Jannes van Ryssen and Rob Gous. In its 65 years of existence, the discipline has pioneered new endeavours and trained students for excellence. One of its most notable projects was Dallas Shaw and Chloe Bowles' first test-tube calf in South Africa and induced twinning, a first for South African reproductive physiology.

The discipline occupies part of the first floor of the Rabie Saunders building on campus and also works extensively at the University's Ukulinga Research Farm, a state of the art facility for research that enables much of the discipline's research to happen.

The discipline has always had a strong poultry reputation, which continues today, and has also become stronger in other areas, such as companion animal nutrition, which is unique to UKZN. The staff are committed to excellence in agricultural education and are constantly striving to ensure the preparedness of their students and are dedicated to their niches in the discipline. For example, Dr Tyler has just completed her second Master’s degree and completed it in the School of Education to sharpen her pedagogic skills in the classroom. All the staff are actively involved in supervision and co-supervision of students and frequently publish important research. They have hosted field trips of schoolchildren to Ukulinga and demonstrate their strength in monogastric nutrition research. The staff are aware of the strong demand for their graduates in industry and so feel a responsibility and compulsion to keep them up to industry standards.
The staff complement of the discipline includes both academic and support staff, and with the teaching, research and laboratory work required and the use of Ukulinga’s facilities to enable quality research, both academic and support staff are vital to the discipline. The discipline is one of the larger ones in the School, however it is one of the smaller Animal Science disciplines at universities around the country, and still manages to be renowned for its specialities. The discipline is also greatly aided by its capable technicians, Philemon Zondi, Sithembile Ndlela  and Deborah Davies on the Carbis Road campus, and Alet Botha at Ukulinga.


Professor Ignatius Nsahlai joined the discipline of Animal Science in 1996 and recalls the vibrancy of the group he joined, with luminaries such as Neil Ferguson, Arthur Lishman and Grieg Stewart among his contemporaries, and many of the current staff their students. Prof Nsahlai, who hails from
Cameroon, did his first degree in Zoology before being awarded his Maîtres in Cameroon. He then was awarded a scholarship to the University of Reading in the United Kingdom where he completed a diploma in Animal Science and was given permission to proceed to a PhD without Master’s, and completed his PhD in three years. He worked for a feed company in the UK and then joined the International Livestock Centre for Africa and was based in Kenya for four and a half years. Prof Nsahlai is involved with research in the discipline that revolves around developing a model for feed evaluation in animals, a project which is funded by the NRF. Additionally, he is working on research into the endoparasite problem in animals, a project with far-reaching effects which would increase health and impact production, provided he acquires much-needed funding. He has experienced success with new treatments such as the use of herbal tannins, which resulted in one farmer who used it not needing to call in a vet for her animals for a whole year. He also has an upcoming project with Langston University in the USA to look into animals’ response to stress such as climate change and their genetic adaptations to these stressors.
Dr Mariana Ciacciariello obtained her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Buenos Aires in her native Argentina, and a PhD in Poultry nutrition from the University of Natal.  Having done her Master’s and PHD degrees at the University, she fell in love with Pietermaritzburg and, after working for a while at University of
Stellenbosch, returned as soon as a position became available at UKZN, where she has been for eight and a half years. Ciacciariello is a monogastric nutritionist, with special interest in poultry, as well as being a fan of cats and every now and again doing some feline work. Dr Ciacciariello, who is working with Dr Tyler on some of her research, aims to continue to produce quality outputs through excellence and impact in her research publications.
Professor Michael Chimonyo joined the discipline of Animal Science in June 2010 after teaching at the University of Fort Hare for five years, and has brought with him his knowledge of pigs specifically. He studied at the University of Zimbabwe in his home country, where he completed his MSc in Physiology and his PhD in Animal Breeding,
specifically pig breeding. Chimonyo’s research focus is in rural communities, working with small-holder farmers and looking at how their animals are adapted to withstand adverse conditions like ticks, water restrictions and feed restrictions in order to improve health management and examine genetic contributors to these factors. Additionally, Chimonyo is investigating the impact of climate change on these animals in terms of their genes and how they adapt and has been working with Mr Edgar Dzomba in Genetics on transdisciplinary research in this respect.
Nicola Tyler
Dr Nicola Tyler studied at the then University of Natal, specialising in poultry for her PhD because of UKZN being one of few poultry research centres globally, thanks to renowned Emeritus Professor Gous, that could look at lighting in broiler breeders with the numbers required for correct statistical analysis. Dr Tyler has lectured at UKZN
since 2004, and maintains close links to industry through being a director of the KZN Poultry Institute, liaising with feed and breeding companies and taking an active role in the South African branch of the World’s Poultry Science Association (WPSA) Her focus in Animal Science is poultry and fertility and she is currently undertaking research to investigate nutrition/fertility in broiler breeders with Dr Ciacciariello.
Dr Marion Young, well-known not only for her canoeing prowess but also for her expertise in equine nutrition and horse sickness, completed her undergraduate, Master’s and PhD degrees at UKZN and has been teaching at the University since 2002. Her research involves rapid diagnostic and serotyping assay for the detection of African horse sickness and has acquired a patent for
the high resolution melt analysis method of performing this diagnostic. She is also involved in collaborative research with Plant Pathology to build up a spectral database to strengthen accuracy and predictability for horse feed evaluation. Additionally, she is investigating the mineral balance in horse rations. Dr Young is driven to prepare her graduates for the industry they will find themselves in and is eager to impart to them the importance of being agents of change. Dr Young is also involved in the organisation of the 48th annual SASAS congress to be held in KwaZulu-Natal in September, with Professor Tim Noakes as a confirmed speaker.
Honorary Professor Emeritus in the discipline of Animal Science, Rob Gous, has become well-known in the academic community for his research in poultry and innovation in the field of simulation modelling. He is still a familiar face on campus and at Ukulinga, despite having officially retired in 2007.

Gous, who holds an A rating from the NRF for his research and is member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, is one of a handful of poultry simulation modellers in the world.
Gous’ 2013 research activity includes new pig research concerned with the response of piglets to Bromelain in attempt to prevent diarrhoea in the newly-weaned animals. His poultry research over the course of the year involved examining the responses of laying hens and broiler breeder hens to a range of balanced protein levels in their feed.

Gous is currently also looking into the use of Bromelain in improving energy and amino acid digestibility of feed ingredients for poultry. He is also examining the effects of the level and source of vitamin D supplementation on the skeletal integrity, performance and vitamin D status of broiler hens.

Gous’s simulation models, being applied in more recent research to other animals such as turkeys and ostriches, are being used increasingly around the world as a basis for research and nutrition. These models enable prediction of food intake and growth of animals, thereby optimising the process of producing broilers for human consumption and improving the health conditions of the animals.

In his more than 40-year career, Gous has published over 164 scientific papers in accredited journals, presented over 99 papers at international conferences and 90 papers at local conferences. He has supervised 48 MSc Agric students and 14 PhDs, as well as developing 10 software programmes and a curriculum for training poultry management students at the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute.

Gous has received numerous awards and recognition for his ground-breaking work over the years: in 1988 he received the South African Society for Animal Production Silver Medal for Research and in 1992 received a Diploma of Excellence from the WPSA on presentation of a scientific paper at the XIX World’s Poultry Congress in Amsterdam. In 2010 Gous was named national Agriculturalist of the Year for 2010 by Agricultural Writers SA and in 2003 received the South African Society for Animal Production Gold Medal for Research. He was also nominated for the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Science and Technology Award for 2005.

The discipline at a glance

The discipline’s world-class facilities include laboratories with technologically advanced machinery, as well as Ukulinga which, among other things, is home to advanced poultry housing which allows for accuracy in research.
The highlights of the discipline include outdoor modules such as Animal Health, which is based on how meat quality impacts human health and features visits to abattoirs. Additionally, the second years learn a lot from their intensive 209 module, which involves visits to dairy and beef farms and a dairy factory and requires numerous written reports. The steer project has also recently been revitalised, with De Heus and Virbac as sponsors of feed and medication, demonstrating the discipline’s commitment to industry partnership. The group taking part will have the opportunity to visit the DeHeus feed mill and feed analysis lab, as well as gain exposure to the Industry at the Royal Show through the project. All Animal Science students are required to complete 5 weeks of work experience during their degree, which prepares the graduates for industry by linking their theory to practice. They also develop their soft skills in their 4th year course and are taught using a problem solving approach that allows them to continue learning throughout their careers.
Animal Science, like any other discipline, does face its own set of challenges. The discipline would benefit from being able to take on more staff in different areas of specialisation, as well as increased skill development for students in the schooling system, as many lack literacy and also struggle for funding to get the tertiary qualification they would like. Animal Science would also benefit from having more farmers and producers coming in to speak to the students, particularly since many facilities cannot have the students visit them due to biosecurity restrictions. The group also hopes to increase the appeal of Animal Science to many students who don’t give it a second thought due to misconceptions about the options it offers. Dr Young added that it is a constant challenge to keep improving the practical skills of students, keeping lecturers topical by keeping abreast of developments at conferences and in industry and taking leadership to ensure that the discipline is integrated into industry. Additionally, it remains a challenge to keep students to progress into doctoral studies.
To increase interest in the science, staff in the discipline believe that it will be necessary to combatt ignorance and popularise the science by making animal products and the process behind them more visible and mainstream.  The staff hope to spread knowledge about the fact that Animal Science is really about technological advancements and dispel the myth that it is so drastically different from topics like medicine. Dr Young emphasised the technological advances in Animal Science, from NIR to in vitro gas production analysis to the high resolution melt analysis in disease epidemiology to mathematical modelling of physiology of growth. The team also works hard on ensuring that students who don’t have the advantage of experience with animals are exposed to the practical side of the science through facilities like Ukulinga. Dr Ciacciariello added that a common misconception is that animal scientists only work on farms, when there is so much more to a career in Animal Science.
The climate of Animal Science in the country is one which is experiencing an increasing demand for animal products, coupled with factors like a growing population and migration to urban areas, challenges which need to be solved by animal scientists. The science needs to find new ways of increasing productivity and devising humane methods acceptable worldwide while still meeting increasing need for animal products. Additionally, the curriculum needs to remain relevant to global trends, as well as designed to expose students to broader issues affecting the science, such as geography and law. There is also increasing competition for resources in South Africa, making it necessary for animal scientists to devise ways of complying with new legislation and regulations while still keeping ahead and remaining passionate about making a difference. The research focus in the discipline is to optimise efficiency and improve production to meet these challenges.
The discipline would like to see industry bringing in research that they are needing done and providing expertise to the discipline when it could improve their work. Industry’s input into funding for various aspects of the discipline’s research or earmarking funding for students would greatly contribute to its continued development. Additionally, industry support of projects undertaken by the discipline, input into the technical side of laboratory work and sponsorship of parts of the facilities would greatly benefit both the discipline and the industry it feeds into. Guest speakers from industry also enables the students to be prepared for what’s out there and the type of people/skills that are in demand.


Master's Breeding Programme Kicks Off

MSc Breeding Programme
The new Master's Plant Breeding programme began on the 19th of January, with students arriving from all over Africa to begin their training in Plant Breeding to equip them to return to their home countries and regions with the skills needed to combat the challenges of food insecurity and climate change affecting crops.

The programme, headed by Prof John Derera, is being funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Three universities in Africa, specifically UKZN, Makerere University in Uganda and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, collaborate with Iowa State University in the USA to see 90 MSc students trained in Plant Breeding over the next 5 years. UKZN will train 30 of these students from Southern Africa with funding of $2.5 million.

The students have already been exposed to input from staff in the School and visiting experts from other universities, and are well-positioned to begin their research into Plant Breeding methods which will contribute to the food security of the continent.

ACCI Academic Receives Award for Best Paper Published at Combined Congress

Prof Shimelis
Professor Hussein Shimelis of the African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) has received the award for the best paper published in the South African Journal of Plant and Soil by a member of South African Society of Crop Production. The award was made during the annual Combined Congress of the South African Society of Crop Production (SACP), Soil Science Society of South Africa, Southern African Society for Horticultural Sciences and Southern African Weed Science Society. The Congress, with the theme of “Taking research to the farm to ensure long-term sustainability”, was held at the Tramonto, George from the 19th to the 22nd of January.

The paper submitted by Prof Shimelis, which deals with a seed oil crop called vernonia (Centrapalus pauciflorus), is unique in its use of statistical methodology to identify principal agronomic and seed oil traits in the East African plant. Known as a weed in the countries where it occurs naturally, the plant was initially identified in a study in the United States as having potential to act as a more environmentally-friendly, cost-effective source of seed oil for industrial uses.

Vernonia, which is found in countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania, is a source for naturally epoxidized seed oil. This means that the oil extracted from the seeds does not have to undergo epoxidation, an expensive chemical process necessary to make other seed oils useable, which utilises noxious petro-chemical substances in the manufacturing process and pollutes the environment with harmful volatile compounds. The naturally epoxidized oil extracted from the vernonia, however, has the potential to revolutionize the industrial oil and plastics industries, as well as be used in the paint industry and in epoxy resins where it could prevent the substances from releasing volatile compounds into the air. Additionally, the seedcakes remaining after the extraction process could be used in animal feed, with experiments in that application underway.

Shimelis, whose study approaches the crop from a Plant Breeding perspective, set out to characterise the 36 genotypes of the plant and evaluate which influential and representative characters of the genotypes would be useful for breeding in the high oil yielding varieties.  Some of the varietal selections determined that some strains of vernonia could yield up to 900 litres of oil per hectare. Breeding of the plant aims to combine high seed-yielding varieties that don’t have high oil yields, with varieties which are higher in oil content. There is potential for more research, as it is necessary to examine how vernonia fares in frost-free and more suitable agro-physical environments in South Africa.

To do this characterisation of the selections, Shimelis and his co-authors conducted field evaluations and fatty acid analyses. Professor Phatu Mashela of the University of Limpopo piloted the field evaluations using agronomic traits and Professor Arno Hugo of the University of the Free State undertook the oil and fatty acid analyses. The three co-authors utilised the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) as a statistical method to identify the most influential and representative characteristics of the diverse genotypes to try and ensure effective breeding for a plant with so much potential.

What makes this study unique, according to Shimelis, is the fact that PCA methodology will be applicable to other crops in plant breeding programmes for germplasm evaluation and selection. Additionally, Shimelis says that, “The level of presentation is accessible to students and researchers, even if they are not statisticians or have limited backgrounds in statistics.”

The paper also contained well-illustrated findings and interpreted PCA as a statistical methodology. With relatively little emphasis on the PCA methodology itself and limited use of statistical jargon, the researchers demonstrated the direct application of PCA for selection and grouping of germplasm collections. The direct impact of the use of this method for genetic resource characterisation of other crops has already been demonstrated by two of Shimelis’ PhD students, who have used the methodology in research related to breeding of sorghum (the results of which were published in the American Journal of Crop Science) and sweet potato (published in the Journal of Tropical Agriculture).

According to Shimelis, the use of PCA led to novel insights in selections of vernonia lines that go beyond what can be expected from a routine germplasm characterisation, which has implications for methods of characterising important traits of plants for breeding to ensure germplasm conservation, food security, environmental sustainability and more.

Shimelis, who also had four of the students he is supervising from various institutions present at the Congress, said that recognition of this kind for his research is a motivation to continue with his work and achieve even more.

CWRR Hosts Hydrology & GIS Specialist from Canada

Stefan Kienzle
The Centre for Water Resources Research hosted Professor Stefan Kienzle on the 19th of February for a presentation on ACRU Applications & Challenges in Canada & Climate Change Studies.

Prof Kienzle, who is originally from Germany, spent 8 and a half years in South Africa in the late '80's and early '90's and was part of Professor Roland Schulze's ACRU research team for a time. Now based at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, Prof Kienzle gave extremely interesting insight into issues of water use, based on the region where he lives, as well as providing insight into the impact of climate change and the response needed. He used the example of snow and temperature and how to interpret changes using climate change indices and crop models for the future of agriculture. The presentation was well-attended by academics and students from both SAEES and the School of Life Sciences.

Prof Kienzle is in talks with the School to increase his involvement in a more formal capacity, so we look forward to seeing further international collaborations between him and the CWRR.

New Staff

Musa Buthelezi
The discipline of Soil Science welcomed a new staff member this month. Miss Musa Buthelezi replaced Dr Pauline Chivenge and joins the discipline to lecture in Soil Pedology, her area of expertise. Musa is no stranger to UKZN, having completed her undergraduate degree, Honour's and Master's at the University. She is also currently busy completing her PhD under the supervision of Prof Jeff Hughes, Professor Albert Modi and Professor Pardon Muchaonyerwa. Her PhD research is focused on soil indigenous knowledge. Musa, who has worked for the Department of Agriculture in the Eastern Cape and spent four years lecturing at the University of Limpopo, says she is happy to be back at UKZN and hopes that her presence will be of huge benefit to the students.

In memoriam

Last Over For a Dedicated Educationalist
John Patrick Graham Ewer
23rd April 1944 to 21st February 2015

Many alumni will remember Senior Lecturer and past Deputy Dean, Dr Paddy Ewer, or "Dr P" from their first year Mathematics classes where he was a stern but lovable teacher who was extremely popular with his students. He was well known for his cheerful personality and attention to detail, even completing the 2015 handbook for the College from his bed in hospital late in 2014. A keen general knowledge quizz enthusiast, bridge player, player of the 12 string classical guitar and a skillful tennis and cricket player, Paddy was a man of many talents who endeared himself to colleagues and students alike. He passed away last Saturday after a long battle with cancer and is survived by his wife, Mrs P, and children Katie and Johnny. He will be greatly missed by the UKZN community.

Upcoming Events

50th Annual GSSA Congress

Celebrating 50 years of rangeland ecology and pasture management in Africa
The 50th Annual Congress of the Grassland Society of South Africa (incorporating the Sixth Research Skills Workshop) will be held on the following dates:
14h00 Sunday 19th July 2015 until
22h00 Thursday 23th July 2015
Royal Agricultural Showgrounds
Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The first Congress was held in 1966 at the then University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg. The Society will be returning to its roots in 2015, with the 50th Annual Congress hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Province at the Royal Agricultural Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg. The Organising Committee is focused on ensuring that the Congress will celebrate its 50th anniversary by having a historical thread throughout the programme while drawing attention to the future.

All those interested in presenting platform and poster presentations as well as research proposal posters are invited to submit abstracts for consideration. In addition, the Congress will host special sessions and workshops - if you would like to submit a proposal for a session or workshop, please do so as soon as possible. Organisers of special sessions and workshops are encouraged to publish contributions in a special issue of the African Journal of Range and Forage Science. Remember that page charges for all papers published by members of the Grassland Society of Southern Africa will be free of charge.

The Congress will be incorporating the highly acclaimed Research Skills Workshop to be held from 19 to 20 July 2015.

For more details about the Congress and to register, please visit the website or email Freyni du Toit (083 256 7202 or 049 842 4335)


Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biodiversity Planning and Policy

In partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences seeks one postdoctoral fellow to join an interdisciplinary research programme on biodiversity conservation and land use planning. The research should , with more underway, focus on understanding the linkages between biodiversity science and conservation planning tools in South Africa. Several conservation planning initiatives have taken place in South Africa in the last decade, in many cases with close links to the policy environment. However, little of this work has been documented in the literature. This provides the unique opportunity to document the scientific process and to reflect on lessons learned. The outcomes of the research should be directly relevant to SANBI, and will be guided by a reference group that includes SANBI staff.

Qualified PhD graduates with a relevant background in either science-policy interface, transdisciplinary research, conservation planning, ecology and/or conservation biology are encouraged to apply.

The postdoctoral fellow will report to Professor Rouget in the Research Chair of Land Use Planning and Management.

For more information about the fellowships and research programmes, please contact Professor M Rouget via email or on 033 260 5112.

Amount of postdoctoral fellowship: R225 000 pa (tax-free) + R25000 towards running expenses.

To apply, submit a comprehensive CV (including list of publications) and a motivation letter to Professor M Rouget.

Closing date for applications: 28 February 2015.





The University of KwaZulu-Natal is one of the top Universities in South Africa and in the top 500 Universities globally. The School of Life Sciences has a long-standing tradition in research and teaching in Biodiversity. The incumbent will provide added strength to the School’s research and teaching programmes. S/he will be expected to contribute to teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level, as well as contribute towards administration within the school. S/he will also be expected to contribute to research in Grassland Science/Rangeland Management.

The incumbent will report to the Academic Leader: Biodiversity.

Minimum Requirements:
Senior Lecturer :
  • A PhD degree in Grassland Science or Rangeland Ecology
  • Experience in teaching at tertiary institution
  • Demonstrated ability to attract external research funds
  • A current and sustained research record of publications in peer-reviewed ISI/SAPSE accredited journals appropriate for the level
  • Successful supervision of postgraduate students (MSc and/or PhD)
Lecturer :
  • A Masters degree by research in Grassland Science or Rangeland Ecology
  • Two years post Masters research experience
  • Current research activity as evidenced by quality publications in a peer- reviewed journal
  • Experience in teaching/tutoring at a tertiary institution.

In respect of appointment at Lecturer level, the successful candidate will be expected to complete a PhD within 5 years from assumption of duty. Applicants must indicate the level of the post they wish to be considered for.

This appointment will be made in line with the University Guidelines/benchmarks which are available on the University vacancies website on

Enquiries and details regarding this post may be directed to the Dean and Head of School, Prof Sam Mukaratirwa on 033 260 1338 or email:

Appointment to this post will be on the January 2012 Conditions of Service.

The remuneration package offered includes benefits.

The closing date for receipt of applications is 13 February 2015. The University, however, reserves the right to accept late applications or to extend the above date in order to facilitate further searches.

Applicants are required to apply on the Vacancies page of the University website at Completed forms and Curriculum Vitae must be sent to: The Advert Reference Number must be clearly stated in the subject line.


Every year, the South African Society for Crop Production awards two bursaries of R10 000 each to deserving students who study full-time in the broad area of Crop Production (Agronomy / Crop Science) at a South African University.

Applicants are invited to download and complete the application form and submit it, together with the supporting documents listed under Conditions, to the SASCP Secretariat. Applications close on 15 March annually. The SASCP reserves the right not to award bursaries if applications do not meet the minimum conditions.

To be considered for the bursary, a candidate must:
  • Be a South African citizen.
  • Be registered for a four year or post-graduate degree (not diploma) at an university in the Republic of South Africa during that year.
  • Supply their latest university academic records with the completed application form. An average mark of at least 60% during the previous university academic year is required.
  • Be registered to study in a major subject related to the general area of Crop Production (Agronomy / Crop Science).

Please submit complete applications, otherwise they will be rejected.

Mail applications to:
SASCP Secretariat
PostNet Unit 301
Private Bag X1288

Successful candidates must:

  • Send proof of university registration to the SASCP Secretariat before any payment can be made.
  • Payment will only be made into the candidates' student account at the University.
  • Submit official results at the end of the study year to the SASCP Secretariat.
Kind regards,

Christine Cuénod
Networking Facilitator
033 260 6557
083 314 3317

on behalf of

Duncan Stewart
082 491 1912

Copyright © 2015 Friends of UKZN Agriculture, All rights reserved.

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