October 2019

NWU – research with impact!

Welcome to 2019's sixth edition of the North-West University's research and innovation newsletter, Research@NWU. The aim of the newsletter is to showcase research projects, researchers and related events. This newsletter is one of seven, distributed to academic staff and researchers during the year.


NRF honours NWU researcher for excellence in science education

Science can open up a magical world of possibilities and career paths to young learners if they have the opportunity to explore the true meaning of research. Armed with the right skills and enthusiasm, teachers can encourage learners to not only learn about science, but actively experience it.

Prof Josef de Beer, an esteemed and prolific researcher, has made it his mission to make the wonder of science accessible to school children and give them the chance to experience science in all its fascinating forms.

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Smart station to monitor air quality

Vanderbijlpark, a pollution hotspot, has been chosen as the location for a state-of-the-art observation station that will monitor both the weather and air quality. This multi-million-rand development will see the NWU becoming the first higher education institution in the country to host a permanent monitoring station on site. According to Emile Hoffmann, lecturer and researcher in the subject group Geography and Environmental Studies, the observation station will contribute towards addressing the dire science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills shortage in the country.

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Tshimologo is changing the way

As in many other countries, our schooling system is formal and performance driven as teachers work toward the completion of a content-driven curriculum. This is especially true for mathematics, and many teachers view maths as abstract facts that are disconnected from daily life. According to Prof Marthie van der Walt from the School for Science and Technology Education, it seems as if learners view maths as a set of abstract rules and procedures without relevance for their daily lives, resulting in disengagement and a fear for the subject.

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A loss of sight, but never a loss of vision

Although one often sees various initiatives promoting the importance of physical activity for a healthier lifestyle, children with disabilities are seldom included in these projects. One of the NWU's research focus areas is now exploring the possibility of investing its expertise to place the spotlight on these individuals. The research focus area for Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation (PhASRec) in the Faculty of Health Sciences recently hosted world-renowned Prof Lauren Lieberman, who delivered a faculty lecture about exercise for people with impairments.

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Internal auditors won't be left behind by the 4IR

The world is already knee deep into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and South African academics and researchers need to come up with innovative technological solutions to ensure students' skills keep up.

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MSc student embarks on research to prevent car theft in SA

Vehicle security is a major concern in South Africa, especially with the latest national crime statistics revealing that more than 48 000 cars and motorbikes were stolen in the last financial year.

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Get to know the NWU's research chairs

The NWU has a number of dedicated and knowledgeable research chairs that help steer the university into realising its ideal of producing research and innovation with a notable international impact. In this edition we meet Prof Markus Boettcher, the Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation's Research Chair in Astrophysics and Space Physics.

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Please share your comments and input by sending an email to the newsletter editor, willie.duplessis@nwu.ac.za