Vol 4 2018

NWU's research reaches beyond continents

It is my pleasure to announce the fourth edition of the North-West University's research and innovation newsletter, Research@NWU. This newsletter showcases current NWU research and innovation initiatives to keep the entire university and our stakeholder communities abreast of work being done on an ongoing basis.

It is my firm belief that an informed community is an empowered and impactful community; hence the drive towards utilisation of various research and innovation dissemination mechanisms.


We also would like to encourage the culture of learning and sharing as NWU research and innovation co-ambassadors.

This edition showcases the notable research in which the NWU is involved and which contributes to knowledge production, technological advances and eventually sustainable development goals. Our research is not only of world-class standard but also has big impact on issues of local, regional and international importance such as health, unemployment, trading, agriculture and the financial sector.

Prof Refilwe Phaswana-Mafuya
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation


Easier treatment on the way for diabetes and some cancers

Imagine a world where diabetics no longer have to inject themselves and where radio-pharmaceutical drugs against certain types of cancer can be administered orally. These are some of envisaged outcomes of research at the NWU's Department of Science and Technology (DST) / NWU Pre-Clinical Drug Development Platform (PCDDP).

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Collaborate to understand unemployment

"No job, no food, please help." These words on makeshift cardboard signs can be seen at every street corner on any given day in South Africa. With an unemployment rate of 26,7% in the first quarter of 2018, it comes as no surprise that South Africa is one of 20 nations with the highest unemployment figures in the world. Yet there is hope. The Optentia research focus area at the NWU's campus in Vanderbijlpark has teamed up with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium in understanding this problem and finding ways to intervene.

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Talking export opportunities at the Agbiz Congress 2018

With populations expanding in many parts of the world and rapid urbanisation straining countries' resources, the need for food and food security has never been so great. While this has created enormous opportunities for farmers in many parts of the world, including South Africa, our agricultural sector is facing significant challenges – not least of which is the uncertainty surrounding land reform in the country and encroaching climate change – which is affecting annual yields and the growth potential of the sector.

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NWU is banking on a new method to calculate capital

Globally, banks are faced with ATM crimes, system security breaches and other types of fraud. These operational risks have to be carefully managed in order to minimise losses, with regulators requiring banks to set aside capital to safeguard themselves against unexpected losses that may occur. Research by the NWU's Centre for Business Mathematics and Informatics has resulted in a new and innovative model for banks in this regard. It enables banks to make more accurate estimates of the capital required to guard against operational risk losses.

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