Facebook icon Twitter icon Forward icon



APRIL 2015

Feature of the Month

The University of Eastern Finland Welcomes Southern African Students and Scholar

UEF Kuopio Campus in Winter

The University of Eastern Finland, UEF is one of the largest research universities in Finland. The university was established in 2010, as the result of the merger of the former University of Joensuu and the University of Kuopio. Today UEF has 15,000 students and 2,800 members of staff on its three campuses in Joensuu, Kuopio and Savonlinna. The four faculties of the university – Philosophical Faculty, Faculty of Science and Forestry, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies place a special emphasis on interdisciplinarity . Teaching is offered in more than 100 major subjects. Read more:

UEF Kuopia Campus in Summer

UEF’s long-term African partner universities within the SANORD network include, among others, North-West University, University of KwaZuluNatal, University of Limpopo, and University of Namibia. In addition, cooperation has been taking place without formal agreements with several other SANORD members, e.g. Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Nelson Mandela Metropole University, Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria, and the University of the Western Cape.  Current areas of research and educational cooperation  include, for example, Applied Education, Biblical Studies, Child Law, Computer Science, Demographic Studies, Fine Particle and Aerosol Technology, Education Law, Educational Technology, Environmental History, Forest Biotechnology, Geography,  Health Technology, International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy, and Public Health.

SCIFEST Joensuu International Science & Technology Festival

One of the “imports” from Southern Africa to Eastern Finland is the annual SciFest Joensuu, the international Science and Technology festival, which has been taking place in  the wooden Joensuu Arena every April since 2007. The inspiration for this event, organised jointly by the Joensuu Science Society, UEF, enterprises, and national and local authorities, was the SciFest Africa taking place in Grahamstown, South Africa. Thousands of children, youngsters and scholars from all the world participate in the workshops of the Joensuu SciFest. The theme of this year’s festival is the "Power of Light".  Read more:


"Hosting High-Level Researchers" of the French National Research Agency: Deadline: 29 May 2015. 

This funding instrument is open to scientists from all scientific fields and enables researchers from any country to carry out an ambitious research project in a reputable institution in France. The ANR funding is designed to help French laboratories fulfil their role as host and researchers to conduct their research. Read more:


Prof Azwinndini Muronga: Director of the Science Centre;  Prof Debra Meyer, Dean: Faculty of Science; Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Ms Rejoice Thizwilondi Mabudafhasi & Prof Ihron Rensburg: Vice-Chancellor of UJ

Prof Debra Meyer is the new Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science, with effect from January 2015.

University World News (UWN) - Higher education is key to development – World Bank

The returns on higher education are growing globally and they are highest in Africa, Claudia Costin, a senior director at the World Bank, told the African Higher Education Summit. There is an urgent need for Africa to build quality and capacity in universities and to create skills that remain on the continent – and public investment is central.And so it was that a Brazilian academic rang the final death knell on a controversial former World Bank policy widely blamed for decimating higher education across the continent.  Read more:

Victory against Ebola within reach: new UN Mission Chief:

ACCRA - Ending the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history is a difficult task, but it is "within our reach", the UN's new mission chief of Ebola said, warning that the world has no choice but to beat back the infection. "This is a global crisis. We definitely have a difficult time ahead of us, but we can achieve it," Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the new head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), said on arrival in Ghana on Saturday. Read more:

African Varsities Urged to Have Closer Collaborations

By Njonjo Kihuria: 

Scholars are calling for enhanced harmonisation of higher education in Africa to ensure effective development in the continent.

A summit aimed at revitalising higher education for Africa's future that was held in Senegal last month was presented with a policy brief that explores the pitfalls of insufficient harmonisation. It stresses the urgency in aligning continental higher education agendas within a framework of sustainable development.. Read more:


Prof Jan Kramers and Dr Herman van Niekerk from the Department of Geology, together with their Masters student Pedro Boshoff and the Speleological Exploration Club (SEC) are involved in the exploration and study of this spectacular cave system which is situated between Lenasia and Potchefstroom. This cave system is not only spectacular due to its tremendous depth and size, but also because it is highly likely that the cave system was formed in direct response to geological structures (low angle thrust faults and joint sets) that originated as a result of the Vredefort meteorite impact that took place about two Billion years ago.  This cave system therefore exhibits very good evidence for “impact induced speleogenesis”.  Faculty of Science March 2015 Newsletter,  Read more: 

View from the bottom of the sinkhole that leads to the cave

a. UWC PhD Student to attend Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau

The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting is a prestigious annual global conference where young up-and-coming scientists can interact first-hand with Nobel Laureates. This year, a record-breaking 70 Nobelists will be attending the 65th meeting from 28 June to 3 July 2015 in Lindau, Germany, transferring knowledge to 672 of the world’s young researchers - including University of the Western Cape PhD student Didam Duniya.

Didam, who hails from Nigeria, wa​​​s jointly nominated to attend by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Germany, and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) for his work in astrophysics. Under the supervision of UWC Physics Professor - and SKA Research Chair - Roy Maartens, Didam is working on the effects of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity in galaxy surveys.  Read more:

b. UWC, Associate Professor, Isabella M Venter visits University of Eastern Finland

Isabella M Venter, Associate Professor in Departmental Chair of Computer Science at University of the Western Cape  was invited in December 2014  to act as an opponent for a PhD student.   It is a public and televised defense of the doctoral student's thesis.  She was also expected to give a public

Picture: The candidate, his family and Isabella Venter at a resort near the Russian border.                                                                          Isabella M Venter, Associate Professor in Departmental Chair of Computer Science at University of the Western Cape was invited in December 2014  to act as an opponent for a PhD student.  It is a public and televised defense of the doctoral student's thesis.

She was also expected to give a public lecture during her stay and this was based on work she did with two colleagues: 2015 Venter IM, Blignaut, RJ and Renaud, K. Skills required to design mobile interfaces for diverse users.  University of Eastern Finland School of Computing Seminar Series. Joensuu, Finland, 28 January 2015.

VUT Annual Research Awards:

Prof K C Moloi acknowledged for dedication and commitment towards producing research that matters.

WORKSHOP OF THE "OFF THE BEATEN TRACK FIELD SCHOOL 2015" - Honeybee-Culture in Gozo and Malta

Hosted by: University of Leuven (Belgium)
The aim of the workshop is to gain and exchange experiences in anthropological and interdisciplinary research on topics concerning beekeeping: Session dates: June 10, 2015 - June 29, 2015 July 4, 2015 - July 23, 2015 July 28, 2015 - August 16, 2015. Read more:

Uppsala - Zennström climate professorship to Doreen Stabinsky

Climate researcher Doreen Stabinsky will be Uppsala University’s first holder of the Zennström Visiting Professorship in Climate Change Leadership. She is to take up the position on February 1st and contribute to the establishment of an environment that will be unique, both in Sweden and internationally. 



How effective is our teaching in our classes  - written by Prof. K. Moloi

There is much debate within the higher education community on how teaching or teaching effectiveness may be defined. For instance, Centra (1993:42), defines effective teaching as that which produces beneficial and purposeful student learning through the use of appropriate procedures. Braskamp and Ory, (1994:40) define effective teaching as the creation of situations in which appropriate learning occurs and shaping those situations is what successful teachers have learned to do effectively. Read more:

Africa: Building Universities Cannot Wait for Good Governance

By Nick Ishmael Perkins

Investing in Africa's higher education sector will build momentum for a virtuous cycle of better governance.The case for investment in research at tertiary institutions in developing countries is relatively easy to make. Last week 500 delegates from an impressive array of sectors and institutions gathered in Dakar, Senegal, for the inaugural African Higher Education Summit, to discuss revitalising such investment in Africa. From the outset, the level of intent was so high it was almost over­confident. Nkosazana Dlamini­Zuma, chair of the Africa Union Commission, declared at the opening plenary that it would be the most important gathering of Africans anywhere, on any opic, this year. 

The conference organisers put forward an impressive list of 17 "expected outcomes". [1] Discussions on the first day covered a mix of the usual challenges for low income countries, such as funding. The debate also included well­rehearsed ambitions, such as creating knowledge economies, as well as intriguing new initiatives, including public­-private partnerships. Read more:

Leadership [Views from the Top]

Embracing Failure to Spur Success: A New Collaborative Innovation Model:

Despite all this healthy respect for failure on our campuses,
we tend to shun it in academic administration. Read more:


University of Cape Town

University of Cape Town:                                                     AngioDesign together with his University of Cape Town (UCT) colleague Sylva Schwager and Professor Ravi Acharya and Dr Ramanathan Natesh based at Bath University, Prof Edward Sturrock published the first three-dimensional structure of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) in Nature in 2003. Their breakthrough created enormous interest from the international scientific and medical communities at the time, as over the years numerous high-profile research teams had tried – and failed – to map the enigmatic enzyme. Read more:

University of Botswana (UB) - Socio-economic & environmental impacts of Jatropha cultivation and biodiesel production in Botswana (2013-2016).

Department : Okavango Research Institute                     Researcher : Prof. Donald L. Kgathi

Research Detail:                                       

This study will focus on the opportunities and risks of Jatropha production and use from a socio-economic and environmental viewpoint. The specific research objectives are as follows: 1) To assess the implications of the use of land for Jatropha cultivation on land rights for farm households. 2) To examine the potential impacts of Jatropha production and use on the local economy (e.g. household income generation, access to energy, education and other non-financial benefits 3) To examine potential financial costs and benefits associated with the production and use of Jatropha. 4) To assess the overall environmental balance of benefits and disbenefits of biodiesel production from J. curcas production such as those on biodiversity, water use, energy balances, and life cycle-based greenhouse gas emissions analysis. 5) To determine the potential contribution of the production and use of Jatropha biodiesel to energy security and the national economy.

University of Gothenburg - Durability of oral hypoglycemic agents in drug naïve patients with type 2 diabetes:

Report from the Swedish National Diabetes Register (NDR).

Authors: Nils Ekström,  Ann-Marie Svensson,  Mervete Miftaraj, Andersson Karolina Sundell,  Jan Cederholm Björn Zethelius, Björn Eliasson & Soffia Gudbjörnsdottir. Read more:

a. UP -Discovery leads to patenting and international demand

The recent UP discovery of a novel compound holds so much promise that some of the world’s leading scientists and pharmaceutical companies want to get involved in its future development. Dr Candice van Wyk and Dr Francien Botha, of the School of Dentistry and the Phytomedicine Programme of the Department of Paraclinical Sciences respectively, managed to isolate a compound from the plant extract of a common tree in South Africa that is proving to have miraculous anti-fungal properties. The compound is showing particular effect in treating fungal infections like candidiasis, an infection that often targets immune-compromised people. Read more:

Dr Francien Botha

Dr Candice van Wyk

b. Department of Nuclear Medicine lauded by the International Atomic Energy Agency

26 March 2015
The Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Pretoria (UP), which collaborates with Steve Biko Academic Hospital, received accolades from the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr Yukiya Amano, who recognised the Department for its extensive research into improving the lives of cancer patients and the training offered to medical nuclear physicists from the African region. Read more:

UWC - Department of Biotechnology - Research Interests and Current Projects

A biotechnologist is a scientist who studies all aspects of life. Biotechnologists create or improve products and processes involving biologically based materials.  Every day, biotechnologist’s findings are critical to research and application in health, industrial, agricultural and environmental sciences. They contribute significantly to the quality of life. To conduct their studies, biotechnologists combine the techniques of microbiology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, physics, ecology and pathology. The many accomplishments of biotechnologists have significantly affected our lives. Read more:

Scientists can now predict breast cancer in four out of five cases

a. New method can predict breast cancer two to five years before it occurs.

In a new study, scientists have devised a new method which enables them to predict if you will develop breast cancer within the next two to five years.

"This method is better than mammography, which can of course only be used where the disease has already developed,” says Rasmus Bro, co-author of the study and professor of chemometrics at the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen. Read more:

b. How different are we on the inside?

We vary quite a lot on the inside and that can be a blessing. For instance, if you have a large liver you can save more than one life.

How significant are the individual differences inside us? We have different noses and the size and colour of our eyes vary. But do our intestines, kidneys, hearts and livers look alike? Or do their sizes, weight and colours differ from one person to another? We asked Inge Morild, a pathologist and professor at the University of Bergen. 

Our organs come in many colours and shapes, explains Professor and Pathologist Inge Morild.

Different on the inside
“Internal differences are just as big as external ones, both in shape and size. There are also a variety of colours,” says Morild.

Most of us have the same basic “gear” and everything is placed in the same internal spots. But already at birth this body equipment differs individually. The size, shape and colour of internal organs can vary. Read  more:

c. Sweden’s view of what makes ideal parents

The ideal parents see children as bringing meaning to their lives. What does it mean to be a good mom or dad? Our notions of what makes good parents can be revealed based on an unusual source: the reports made on potential adoptive parents who want a second child.  The reports present an unambiguous picture of the adoptive parents, says Cecilia Lindgren,  a Swedish researcher at the Department of Thematic Studies – Child Studies at Linköping University in Sweden who has studied how Swedish social workers describe the good parent. Read more:

MAH - New technique improves the adhesion of the ceramic tooth replacement

PRESS RELEASE. A new patented technology, developed at Malmö University, increases the ability to attach ceramic material to replace lost tooth structure. One of the researchers behind the new technology is Evaggelia Papia, doctoral and dental technician at the Department of Material Science and Technology.
- With the help of glass particles, we have developed a surface structure that allows the ceramic denture to attach well on teeth using cement, she says.

Evaggelia Papia
pdh-student, dental technician
Tel: +46 40 665 85 87
E-mail: evaggelia.papia@mah.se

There are several different materials used to replace teeth or tooth substance. There is also a continuous development to improve these materials. A clear trend in recent years is that more and more dentists use so-called all-ceramic restorations. But there can be problems getting the material to adhere, which is due to the surface of the ceramic tooth replacement is smooth, homogeneous and chemically inactive.

- It is good for the patient because it is difficult for plaque to attach on a smooth surface. But the downside is that it is difficult to attach the denture without having to grind on existing teeth, says Evaggelia Papia. Read more:

UEF - Finnish breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research

A research team at the University of Eastern Finland has made a significant genetic variant discovery. As a result of an international collaborative project, the team has identified mutations in the ABCA7 gene that double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The genetic variant discovered by the University of Eastern Finland doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Hilkka Soininen explained in an interview with Yle that this finding is ten times more significant than the other recent genetic variant research findings related to Alzheimer’s disease. A research team at the University of Eastern Finland has made a significant genetic variant discovery. .  Read more:

RESEARCH AT UFS:              

a. Department of Chemistry:

Prof Jeanet Conradie, Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of the Free State (UFS), has received the Merck Medal for 2014 from the South African Chemistry Institute (SACI), for her paper Redox potentials of ligands and complexes. A DFT approach, S. Afr. J. Chem. 2011, 64, 203-209. Dr Karel von Eschwege, the co-author of the paper is also from the Department of Chemistry. Read more:

Prof Jeanet Conradie and Dr Karel von Eschwege.

b. Department of Physics: Nanosciences employed in the battle of big C:

Prof Martin Ntwaeaborwa of the Department of Physics is in the race to find less invasive treatment for the big C, cancer. His research focuses also on the study of luminescent nanomaterials in powder and thin film forms for application in light-emitting diodes, displays, solar cells and photodynamic therapy (treatment of cancer).    In 2009 he received NSTF’s National Young Researcher award and the Young Researcher award from the American Vacuum Society in 2010.   Read more:

a. Uppsala - New biomarker for uterine cancer discovered

Researchers at Uppsala University have, together with researchers from Turku and Bergen, discovered a new biomarker which makes it possible to identify women with uterine cancer who have a high risk of recurrence. The findings were recently published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology. Read more: 

b. Uppsala Health Summit on Antibiotic Resistance to follow decision by WHO

Shortly after the World Health Organization's (WHO) global action plan on antibiotic resistance has been adopted in May 2015, researchers, politicians and representatives from public health organizations and the pharmaceutical industry will gather in Uppsala, Sweden, to discuss the most urgent next steps. Read more:

c. Uppsala - How does climate change affect biodiversity?

How does climate change affect species’ abundance and spread? This is a key question in climate debate which is hard to answer without information about a species’ natural variation. Now, researchers at Uppsala University for the first time are able to paint a detailed picture of natural variation in a large study published today in leading scientific journal Current Biology. Read more:

Book Offer - ‘Teaching in a Digital Age’ now ready and available