Nurturing young academics

27 Jun 2017 - 10:15

Dr Malebogo Ngoepe joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering as a lecturer in August 2015. She graduated from UCT with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering in 2009, and in 2014, went on to complete her PhD in biofluid mechanics at the University of Oxford.

Her research interests are in computational biomechanics, and mechano-chemical system. Click here for her CV.

In 2016, Dr Ngoepe was one of five candidates who were selected from a pool of 248 candidates across the African continent to receive the 2016 Iso Lomso Fellowship for early-career African researchers.

Iso Lomso, meaning “the Eye of Tomorrow” in isiXhosa, is a new Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) fellowship and early-career support programme that will boost the careers of some of the brightest minds in African academia. The programme was inspired by the Pro Futura Scientia programme developed by the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study and is currently funded through an STIAS grant from the Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

In addition to spending up to three periods of residency at the STIAS Wallenberg Research Centre in Stellenbosch between 2017 and 2019 to pursue their research projects, Iso Lomso fellows may also receive funding to attend international conferences, convene workshops, and visit sister institutes for advanced study in North America, Europe or elsewhere. The candidates represent a broad range of disciplines including public health, philosophy, English literature and engineering.

Dr Ngoepe’s project will seek to develop a thrombosis model which can be applied in both cerebral aneurysms and abdominal aortic aneurysms. She intends to partner with collaborators at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.

With these awards, STIAS aims to fill the gap that often exists for African academics between completion of a PhD and becoming an established scholar. While in residence, Iso Lomso fellows will find themselves in the company of leading researchers from around the world and from different disciplines. Informal research guidance and networking with other fellows form an integral part of life at STIAS.

Director Hendrik Geyer reiterated this, saying “STIAS recognises that for many younger academics the pressures of teaching, administration and contracted work mean they receive little encouragement and incentive to develop their research strengths. In line with the vision of Iso Lomso, STIAS’s goal is to provide sustained research support to these young academics, thereby contributing to a future generation of scholars and scientists.”