Read the Afrikaans version September 2023

Groundbreaking research and innovation with impact

Welcome to the sixth 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.

Engineers on track to take local innovations
to Cybathlon in Switzerland


Zürich 2024, here we come, complete with a state-of-the-art prosthetic leg and wheelchair.

Headed by the formidable team of Prof André Grobler and Ian Thomson from the Faculty of Engineering and Dr Mark Kramer from Health Sciences, the innovators are preparing to take the fruits of their research and designs in digital health to the international stage.

They will be competing at the 2024 Cybathlon competition in Switzerland. This competition, in the form of a gruelling race, will take place in Kloten near Zürich in October next year.


immagine3 immagine4 immagine5

Exploring social justice in labour law and how to measure it

Social justice in labour law is not abstract and intangible, but measurable. Setting out to prove this, labour relations researcher Prof Paul Smit is investigating whether it is possible to develop a social justice scorecard, similar to an employment equity or broad-based black economic empowerment scorecard. "What is social justice and how can it be measured in labour law?" is the question he is asking.


Understanding the impact of family structure on street children

A recent study conducted by Dr Karabo Mohapanele, a PhD graduate in sociology, sheds light on the crucial role of families in influencing children's behaviour and shaping their lives, and on how family dynamics and structure play a significant role in the emergence of street children in North West. Sadly, street children form a visible part of societies worldwide, and South Africa is no exception.


Shaping future drug development with ethical approaches

In the realm of pharmaceutical research Prof Chrisna Gouws, a professor at the Centre of Excellence for Pharmaceutical Sciences, is leading a significant charge towards transforming drug development. Her work in animal-free testing methods revolutionises how pharmaceuticals are researched, tested and ultimately approved. This focus draws on her expertise in biochemistry, cell-culture models and herb-drug interactions.



Using the law to advance justice and sustainability

It is easy to see how a lack of the proper application of the law, particularly in the South African context, may ultimately lead to anarchy because of those determined to sidestep it.

Fortunately, efforts such as those by the Research Unit for Law, Justice and Sustainability are at the forefront of seeking innovative solutions to our country's social and environmental challenges.


Meet our researchers

Researchers across our faculties are doing exciting work in their fields of expertise. We introduce the work of three researchers:

  • Prof Moses Retselisitsoe Phooko from the Faculty of Law,
  • Prof Peet van der Merwe, senior lecturer and researcher in Tourism Management, and
  • Prof Germarié Viljoen, an associate professor in the Faculty of Law.


More research news

Please share your comments and input by sending an email to
the newsletter editor,