April 2020

Research that inspires!

Welcome to 2020's third edition of the North-West University's 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.


Nothing artificial about their expertise

A small research group at the NWU is starting to attract real interest for their work on artificial intelligence (AI).

"The amount of interest has come as something of a surprise," says Prof Marelie Davel, who – with PhD student Tian Theunissen – recently travelled to New York, USA, to present their latest findings at the highly regarded conference of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), AAAI-2020.

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First SA study on Hepatitis C Virus resistance

South Africa is currently facing a significant viral hepatitis epidemic challenge. Recent epidemiological studies reveal rapidly growing hepatitis outbreaks among South African People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) populations. The prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) among PWID ranges between 45% and 94%, and as many as half of all PWID may be co-infected with HIV and HCV. Furthermore, around 5% of PWID have chronic HCV infection.

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The relationship between GBV and HIV/Aids

The link between gender-based violence (GBV) and HIV/Aids is usually rooted in the power imbalance between men and women. This was one of the findings of research conducted by Goitseone Leburu, whose master's and doctoral studies at the NWU revolved around different aspects of GBV. Her master's study explored the interconnectedness of GBV and HIV/Aids, and how these social problems manifest, intersect and affect the lives of many women.

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Social media now a field for serious research

While some people might think social media is purely for popular consumption, it has become a separate field of study for research in its own right. Prof Wian Erlank of the Faculty of Law says much has been written about the sociological and psychological aspects thereof, including the seeming disconnect people have when they participate in social media. He says it is clear that many people feel they can (and indeed actually do) say and post things in an unfiltered fashion.

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Connecting to ignite a growth revolution in Africa

Why try to reinvent the wheel when others are facing similar challenges and together you could succeed in "connecting to ignite a growth revolution"?

This was the thinking of the team of researchers from the NWU's Optentia research focus area who visited Namibia to foster relationships with government, business, labour and NGOs in that country.

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