Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Prof A Ströh, Dean
Telephone number: 012 420 2478
Fax number: 012 420 3893
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Preface by the Dean
The researchers within the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences are renowned in local and international research circles for their excellence and, when the research outputs of 2003 are evaluated, it is clear that 2003 was no exception.
Research activities culminated in the publication of a significant number of peer-reviewed publications in local and international journals, the publication of outstanding research books in the fields of theoretical chemistry and zoology, the registration of a number of patents and in the graduation of 139 MSc and 43 PhD students. It is however not only the quantity of outputs that is important, but the quality that increases the “research profit” of the Faculty. To ensure further increase of research outputs, the Faculty will continue to promote the recruitment of additional quality researchers and postgraduate students.
The fields of research specialization within the Faculty vary greatly, as the four Schools (Agricultural and Food Sciences, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematical Sciences) have a wide diversity of disciplines in the basic and applied natural sciences and mathematics. Integrated within the four schools are the world-reputed Institutes and Centres where research groups with excellent research facilities are formed in various study fields. This places the Faculty in a strong position to promote multidisciplinary research and teaching programmes.
The quality of the research performed by our researchers was recognised by a number of prestigious awards and medals to members of departments, which include
- the Chancellor’s Medal for Research (2003) (Department of Zoology and Entomology)
- a number of Outstanding Academic Achievers awards for contribution towards research (Departments of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, Zoology and Entomology and Botany)
- an exceptional Young Researchers Award (Department of Zoology and Entomology)
- the S2A3 medal for the best MSc dissertation in a science related field in UP (Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics).
Other recognitions include the significant number of NRF rated scientists in the Faculty, the election of Prof Rudi van Aarde (Zoology and Entomology) as President of the SA Wildlife Management Association and the election of Prof NC Bennett (Zoology and Entomology) as a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa. Prof Eugene Cloete (Microbiology and Plant Pathology) was elected as the Vice-president of the International Water Association.
The Faculty was highly successful in collaborating with industry and contract research succeeded in attracting substantial funding. For example, funding of more than R20 million from NRF grants and THRIP awards made it possible to partake in a significant number of research activities in the Faculty, which increased the production of research outputs.
A major strategic development in the field of Biotechnology is exemplified by the investment that the University of Pretoria made in the building of a new research facility known as the FABI Square Bioinformatics building. A suite of world-class quarantine greenhouses and a top quality facility for tissue culture and transgenic research plants form part of the new building. The third floor accommodates the newly established bioinformatics centre as well as new laboratories for the Faculties growing DNA sequencing enterprises. The facilities in this new building will considerably enhance the scope of research, which the Faculty is able to undertake. Departments and units that are already involved in the field of Biotechnology and in particular Bioinformatics include Genetics, Zoology and Entomology, Botany, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, FABI and the African Centre for Gene Technologies, which is a collaborative initiative with the CSIR. In due course mathematicians, physicists, chemists and health scientists are likely to become more involved.
Prof A Ströh