UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) is delving into what things will look like in 2021 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic at its annual Postgraduate Research and Innovation Symposium (PRIS), with Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and co-chair of the South African COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee Professor Salim Abdool Karim presenting a keynote address that will set the tone for two days of presentations of UKZN students’ best research.

To be held virtually via Zoom on 10 and 11 December, the PRIS will crown what has been a challenging year for the country, with universities no exception. Despite this, researchers and scientists have demonstrated the importance of their work to address vital aspects of the fallout of a global pandemic, from issues of understanding epidemiological models, to developing excellent testing regimes, to issues of sanitation and food security in a pandemic-stricken world, and far more.

The PRIS is always a highlight in the University calendar, drawing hundreds of staff, students, and industry partners from across the three UKZN campuses the College operates on, and draws attention to the cutting-edge, collaborative research being undertaken by postgraduate students and the supervisors, partners, technicians, and industry representatives that contribute to UKZN’s successful research programmes.

The Symposium has risen to the challenges presented by COVID-19, and Abdool Karim’s presentation will hone in on epidemic trends in South Africa, explore how the meaning of science has changed in the era of Covid-19, and reflect on what can be anticipated in 2021 and beyond. Abdool Karim, a clinical infectious diseases epidemiologist widely recognised for his contributions to HIV prevention and treatment, is Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at UKZN. One of the world’s most highly cited scientists, his presentation will highlight the importance of “following the science” in addressing the pandemic.

Following this presentation will be two days of parallel sessions in which postgraduate students in the College’s Schools of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Science, Chemistry and Physics, Engineering, Life Sciences, and Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science will present their research as oral or flash presentations, providing insight into themes and innovations that are driving the University’s agricultural, engineering and scientific efforts.

The Symposium always enjoys strong support from industry, and this year will be no different as close to 20 organisations, institutes and companies rally to sponsor prizes for excellent presentations, as well as lucky draws.

Guests are invited to join the virtual research extravaganza by registering on the PRIS website:


Dr Sally Frost
Cell: 0731691409

Ms Leena Rajpal
Phone:  +27 31 260 7065 or 0828230853

Ms. Samantha Ngcongo
Phone: +27 31 260 8470


Thursday 10 December

09h50 – 10h55      Session 1

09h50–09h55UKZNIntroductionChristine Cuenod
09h55–10h05Amazon.comCome build the future with usThembisa Ntulini and Shelley Freswick
10h05–10h15Anton PaarAnton Paar’s innovation highlights at AchemaManju Naicker
10h15–10h25ElsevierElsevier congratulates UKZN on continued research excellenceJohn Sterley and Daneshree Moodley
10h25–10h35EskomIgula Pumped Storage SchemeNonkululeko Shezi
10h35–10h45Inqaba BiotecHow well do you know Inqaba Biotec?Pule Shabalala
10h45–10h55SACNASPWelcome to SACNASPSarah van Aardt

10h55 – 11h10      Break

11h10 – 11h50      Session 2

11h10–11h202Cana Solutions2Cana Solutionsh  Enabling digital transformationCharles Cowan
11h20–11h30NRFNRF funding opportunities for Emerging ResearchersThandeka Mthethwa
11h30–11h40SANASThe impact of SANAS Accreditation on operational performance of laboratoriesShadrack Phophi
11h40–11h50Westfalia FruitCareer opportunities at WestfaliaAgnes Ramafalo

11h50 – 12h05      Break

12h05 – 12h55      Session 3

12h05–12h15AnatechThe Thermo Scientific LCMS PortfolioBridget Calder
12h15–12h25Apex ScientificApex Scientific – Bringing global technology to your laboratoryMikayla Raman and Premanthra Naicker
12h25–12h35LasecLasec – Empowering Africa’s DevelopmentBruce Pillay
12h35–12h45MerckMerck – Who we areSamantha Nicholson
12h45–12h55Thermo FisherThermo Fisher:  The World Leader in Serving ScienceSuvina Bisnath, Neliswa Nhlabatsi, Raveshni Durgiah, Pholisiwe Mbona