Collaboration through competition at UFS

The winners from the Postdoctoral and Staff categories, from left: Dr Cowan McLean, Dr Kamini Govender, Dr Abdul Rashid Issahaku, Dr Ernie Langer, Prof Paul Oberholster, Dr Tinus Viljoen, and Dr Govind Nair. PHOTO: UFS

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (NAS) hosted a two-day Flash Fact Competition, where postgraduate students (Masters, PhD, and Postdocs) and staff had the opportunity to present and share their research.

The organisers, Liesl van der Westhuizen and Heidiry White said the main purpose of the competition is to disseminate information across departments within the faculty.

“The competition “creates awareness for collaboration opportunities and showcases the impressive diversity of research within NAS,” added Dr Frans O’Neill, Programme Director of Microbiology and Biochemistry and co-organiser.

Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Professor Paul Oberholster further said that the competition provides a platform for staff and students to showcase their work while it encourages collaboration among participants.

“Winners from each department (and divisions within departments) in the faculty faced each other in the final Flash Fact Competition. Participants had three minutes to present their research, followed by a question-and-answer session with a panel of adjudicators and the audience,” said the UFS.


Prize Winners 

Masters category:

First prize – Mareli Moster, Department of Genetics

Second prize – Alexandra Howard, Department of Zoology and Entomology (Qwaqwa Campus)

Third prize – Natalie Matchett, Department of Physics (Astrophysics)


PhD category: 

First prize – Thandi Mazibuko, Department of Physics

Second prize – Justin Cooper, Department of Physics (Astrophysics)

Third prize – Diana Mngomezulu, Department of Plant Sciences


Postdoctoral category:

First prize – Dr Abdul Rashid Issahaku, Department of Chemistry

Second prize – Dr Govind Nair, Department of Physics

Third prize – Dr Kamini Govender, Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry


Staff category:

First prize – Dr Tinus Viljoen, Department of Genetics

Second prize – Dr Cowan McLean, Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences

Third prize – Dr Ernie Langer, Department of Chemistry


Compiled by Gypseenia Lion