Milestone: Dr Andrew Kaniki (left), executive director: Knowledge Fields Development, of the National Research Foundation, congratulates Prof Phil Hockey, director of the FitzPatrick Institute, on the institute's upgrade to a fully funded CoE. (Photo by Chris Tobler.)
Following a mid-term external review in 2009 of the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence (CoE) at UCT's Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, news has come announcing a second five-year funding cycle for the institute.
This means additional financial support of R12.5m over five years (R2.5m per year from 2010 to 2014). The good news comes at an opportune time: the institute's 50th anniversary year.
"We greatly appreciate this significant enhancement of support from the National Research Foundation and the Department of Science and Technology and trust that this will allow us to achieve even higher performance levels," said the institute's director, Professor Phil Hockey.
In its review, the panel commended the CoE's performance, noting the high standards of scholarship and research ethos, and congratulating them on meeting their targets for publications, training and outreach. They also made a note of the institute's very successful MSc Conservation Biology course and the need for additional resources to support more Postdoctoral Research Fellows.
However, the panel felt that too many resources had been devoted to areas that are not considered to be core to biodiversity and conservation research and called for an expansion of research into population and community ecology and the conservation biology of terrestrial systems.
Since then the CoE has made strategic advancements to increase its terrestrial ornithology and conservation work.
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