University of Pretoria: Three more NRF A-rated researchers for the University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria (UP) is proud to add a hat trick of three new National Research Foundation (NRF) A-rated researchers to its rapidly growing list of NRF-rated researchers, now at 595, which is the highest nationally.

NRF A-rated researchers are, by definition, ‘unequivocally recognised by their peers as leading international scholars in their field for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs’. The NRF rating system benchmarks our researchers against the best in the world. They are widely published in peer-reviewed journals, books and other outlets, and recognised for their contribution to addressing and finding solutions to the many challenges facing our country and world.

The latest three A-rated researchers are: Professor Jenny Hoobler from the Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (EMS); Professor Riël Franzsen, director of the African Tax Institute and holder of the NRF South African Research Chair in Tax Policy and Governance, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences; and Professor De Wet Swanepoel, clinical research audiologist in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology in the Faculty of Humanities. All three were previously NRF B-rated researchers, which, by definition, are researchers with considerable international recognition.

In addition, Professor Nigel Bennett, Department of Zoology and Entomology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, is now an A1-rated researcher (from A2). Prof Bennet holds the NRF South African Research Chair in Mammalian Behavioural Ecology and Physiology.

Prof Hoobler’s research interests include gender and diversity in organisations, work and family intersections, abusive supervision, labour-management relations, and women leadership. She received an Exceptional Achiever award from UP in 2020; she is the Associate Editor and board member of the Journal of Applied Psychology – listed as one of the top 5 psychology journals globally – and Special Issue Editor of the African Journal of Management.

Prof Franzsen is an admitted advocate of the High Court of South Africa and co-founder of the African Tax Institute (ATI), established in 2002 to undertake capacity development in the areas of tax policy and tax administration in the public sector in Africa. He specialises in land and property taxation and regularly acts as a policy advisor for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations, World Bank, UN Food and Agriculture Organization and German development agency GIZ. In this capacity, he has worked in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Europe. He is on the Board of Advisors of the International Property Tax Institute, and is the co-editor and co-author of ‘Property Tax in Africa – Status, Challenges and Prospects’.

Prof Swanepoel’s focus areas include early diagnosis and detection of hearing loss intervention, increased access to ear- and hearing healthcare, audiology, telemedicine, eHealth, HIV-related auditory dysfunction and tele-audiology. He is the founder and scientific advisor of the hearX group, a digital health company focused on offering affordable access to healthy hearing for all. HearX has pioneered award-winning digital hearing solutions to detect, diagnose and treat hearing loss. He is a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Audiology, member of the World Hearing Forum and UNICEF specialist advisor on the young children with developmental delays and disabilities project.

UP’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tawana Kupe, said: “As a research-intensive university, we are committed to increasing our number of top international researchers by proactively growing and supporting our doctoral and postdoctoral pipeline. They are invaluable to our university community, country, continent and world, as they leverage their networks to build partnerships, they produce patents, turn their research findings into new growth areas for economies and contribute to solutions for a better world.”

He added that he is extremely pleased that from April 2022 the NRF will be partnering with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to increase access to funding opportunities for postgraduate students, based on financial need and academic performance. This is part of- and essential for the growth, diversification and transformation of human capital in our country.

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