Friday, June 9, 2023

South Africa’s Thuso solutions emerges a game changer for academics and researchers

In South Africa, support for emerging researchers and academics in the public universities received a boost with the launch of Thuso Resources and Thuso Connect, an online resource aimed at removing some of the barriers that prevent the advancement of academic carriers.

A partnership between the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and Universities South Africa (USAf), the online platforms were launched on Thursday, 18 May.

Thuso Resources is a free online repository of key information resources, modules and programmes that have been selectively gathered from various sources, including all public universities, and made available to help build the emerging researchers’ capacity.

Thuso Connect allows early career academics and researchers with experienced mentors to support them on their academic journey.

These platforms are a direct response to findings of the 2018 USAf study on “Building a Cadre of Emerging Scholars for Higher Education in South Africa”, which identified many barriers to the advancement of research careers in academia across the sector. Young academics cited heavy teaching and administrative loads, insufficient research time and a lack of mentors, research networks and funding as impediments to the pursuit of doctoral studies and academic research careers.

Dr Phethiwe Matutu, USAf’s CEO and a champion of human capacity development, described the Thuso project as “an opportunity for emerging researchers to learn from their established counterparts in other institutions through curated resources.

“The launch of these platforms epitomises USAf’s firm belief in human capacity development and responding to the systemic challenges posing a risk to higher education sustainability,” she said.  “This solution will most likely exceed your expectations.”

The DSI Director: High End Skills, Mr Bheki Hadebe, said the project was aimed at increasing the number of emerging researchers, particularly black and women researchers.

“The systems need to build a solid pipeline of young researchers who will replace ageing, male researchers in real-time through an enabling environment with opportunities for emerging researchers,” he added.

Prof. Stephanie Burton, a USAf Research Fellow and Leader of the Advancement of Early Career Researchers and Scholars (AECRS) project said these platforms respond to real challenges.

“In the interest of working together collaboratively, to build strengths, South African universities are partnering in sharing instruments, resources and training offerings on an open-access online platform,” said Burton.

She explained that individuals seeking mentorship and those willing to offer it could meet through the programme and work together in a partnership.  The platform provides an effective, ethical way of introducing mentors and mentees.

Both platforms are part of the DSI-sponsored AECRS project that is being driven under the auspices of USAf.  USAf’s Project Manager, Ms Janet van Rhyn, said the platforms allowed universities to collaborate and share resources effectively for the benefit of all emerging researchers and scholars, regardless of the institution with which they were associated.

Van Rhyn encouraged established academics and researchers with a passion for supporting upcoming academics and researchers to register as mentors on the Thuso Connect platform at

Related Articles

Stay Connected


Latest Articles

Satellite Successfully Applies AI to Process Earth Observation Imagery In-flight in...

Ubotica Technologies announced that its Artificial Intelligence technology has successfully enabled the first ever hardware-accelerated AI inference of Earth Observation images on an in-orbit...