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UFS academic awarded BRICS research funding

Dr Thulisile Mphambukeli, lecturer in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Free State (UFS), has been awarded a R150,000 research grant by the South African BRICS Think Tank, in collaboration with the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS).
Dr Thulisile Mphambukeli and Dr Victor Okorie from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Free State. Photo: Rulanzen Martin
“It means a lot to me, as I am a young academic embarking on my postdoctoral research project. To be able to lead a team of researchers from various research institutions in South Africa is humbling,” said Mphambukeli upon receiving the grant.

She will spearhead a research project between BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) universities. “They have awarded me a three-month grant to facilitate a process of combining various research projects under the BRICS Academic Cluster,” Mphambukeli said.

“The academic cluster provides a platform for researchers and academics to engage in ongoing collaboration,” she said. The grant will enable her and her research partner, Dr Victor Okorie, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the UFS, to put together a research proposal to be submitted at the end of May 2017. If successful, her team will conduct a research study across BRICS countries over a period of three years. It will be done in collaboration with various South African universities, who will form a team to collaborate with researchers from BRICS universities.

“The funds we have received are quite a great accomplishment for the UFS and our department,” Dr Okorie said. The UFS has become a force to be reckoned with when it comes to emerging issues in BRICS politics and policies. “Our project looks at the provision of ecosystems, agriculture, and security and the UFS was chosen as the host institution.”