CUT’s Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences:Prestige Research Day

Mariette Liefferink, CEO of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment presented the Keynote address at the Central University of Technology, Free State. 

Research is defined as the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions by the Oxford dictionary. lt goes without saying that research is the cornerstone of any university.

Four faculties of Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) each host an annual seminar inin October. The seminar showcases research fields.

Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences hosts its Prestige Research Day

This year’s annual Prestige Research Day (PDR) was hosted on the 29thof October.

Ms Mariette Liefferink, the CEO of the non-profit organisation Federation for a Sustainable Environment, widely recognised as the most prominent of the environmental activist stakeholders in the mining industry was the keynote speaker, Ms Liefferink has distinguished herself from most activists and CEOs through her unique style for climbing mine dumps, hiking through informal settlements, skirting radioactive lakes and standing in the picketing frontline, Her goal: protecting and preserving our environment. Ms Liefferink has been acknowledged for her passionate and selfless service with the SAB Environmentalist of the Year Award in 2012 and 2013. She has also been awarded the Enviropaedia Eco-Warrior Award in 2011, the North West Universitys Chancellor’s Medal in 2009 and National Association of Conservancies of South Africa award in 2008.

Internationally she has been nominated for the Goldman Prize for excellence in protecting the environment in 2011 and she was an invited VIP at former US vice president Al Gore s Live Earth Concert in 2007. ln the past year she has been acknowledged as one of the 100 most influential people in Africa’s Mining industry.

ln her keynote address, she shared current knowledge and concerns on the risks and hazards of historical and current gold mining activities on eco- and human health.

Ms Liefferink spoke movingly about the devastating environmental impact of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) on eco and human health. Her exposure of government and industry neglect despite the appalling environmental and socio-economic impact of AMD on local communities serves as an inspiration to us all.

In addition to the 20 oral presentations on current and completed research by CUT staff and students, a poster session was also piloted which allowed post-graduate students an additional opportunity to present their research to colleagues and partners from industry.

This year’s event was sponsored by several of the leading life science consumable and instrumentation suppliers who also took the opportunity to exhibited their latest products.

Prizes were awarded to the best postgraduate presentation (Melanie Patrick), best presentation by a staff member (Shannon Smouse), best presentation by an established researcher (Dr Idah Manduna) and the Dean’s Trophy for the best research paper 2012-2013 (Prof Annabel Fossey).

Compiled by Dr Willem Groenewald, Consolidated from CAT’s GRATIA

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