New centre will enhance postgraduate experience

28 July 2003

Inner space: The new Postgraduate Centre in the Otto Beit Building offers masters, doctoral and postdoctoral students with a space to meet, relax, interact and study. The TB Davie Room now houses the postgraduate seminar room that has been fully equipped, thanks to generous funding from the Harry Crossley Foundation.

UCT celebrated another important milestone in its quest to establish its prowess as a research-lead university when the new Postgraduate Centre was opened in the Otto Beit Building recently.

The new facility, a Heritage Site that has been extensively renovated and refurbished, has been dedicated to master's and doctoral students, as well as to postdoctoral research fellows and, conveniently, is situated adjacent to the new suite housing the Postgraduate Funding Office under the directorship of Linda Vranas.

Here, postgraduate students and postdoctoral research fellows are able to enquire about the range of fellowships, scholarships and bursaries on offer.

The upgraded facilities form part of a plan to upgrade the entire postgraduate and postdoctoral experience at UCT.

The main reading, meeting and working room in the Postgraduate Centre is housed in the Rhodes Room and the attached seminar facility in the TB Davie Room. The latter will provide postgraduate students with an opportunity to present seminars on their research and participate in enrichment programmes, an aspect the University is keen to promote. The TB Davie seminar room is fully equipped, thanks to generous funding from the Harry Crossley Foundation.

Speaking at the Centre's opening, which was also attended by representatives from the National Research Foundation, the CSIR and the trustees of the Harry Crossley Foundation, Vice-Chancellor Professor Njabulo Ndebele summed up its function succinctly when he said: "The Centre offers postgraduate and postdoctoral students a place to meet, interact and study."

He said that a vibrant research culture was an inseparable aspect of the country's future. "It is a delight that this small event is contributing to a big national effort," he concluded. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor charged with research and innovation, Associate Professor Cheryl de la Rey, said that, as a research-led university, UCT strives to ensure that all postgraduate students and postdoctoral research fellows become involved in cutting-edge learning and research activities that extend the boundaries of knowledge.

"We have world-class researchers who enjoy considerable international recognition for their contribution to knowledge. Moreover, our academics are leading the way in showing how cutting-edge research can be successfully used to improve the quality of life of all people."

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the event was the announcement by Harry Crossley Foundation trustee, Ronald Paterson, of a R1-m donation to the health sciences faculty and a further R2-m towards postgraduate research at UCT, a fitting end to a noteworthy occasion.

(The opening of the new Centre also coincided with the launch of the new brochure, entitled Guide to Postgraduate Studies at UCT.)

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