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Converis Africa User Group

Several excellent comics (Dilbert perhaps being the most popular one) focus on the managemnt and/or reporting overload of the modern workplace. Universities are not immune to this plague, and some might say they’re worse off because a) academics and students are notoriously reluctant to be bound by rules and prone to complaining b) universities often do not have the resources to implement and/or support user-friendly IT systems to assist with the more menial tasks. Converis is a tool (marketed by Clarivate) is a tool that (supposedly, some might say;-) enables universities to gather, report and showcase data about their research activities. It can e.g. be used by researchers to publicly display their CV, including their publications and research outputs, to submit research project proposals and financials to the University. More in general, when well-deployed, supported and used, Converis displays a research dashboard which can be used to provide snapshots and detailed information about the University’s research. The devil, as they say, is in the detail, and the numerous (often conflicting) requirements of different units within a University’s administration can rapidly make such a system fiendishly complicated and subtly counter-intuitive. For a while now, Kimi Keith and others at the University of Cape Town have tried to gather Converis users across Africa to share their experience in deploying and supporting Converis instances in resource-constrained environments and help each other make the most of it. If you’re currently using Converis or are considering adopting it, we would like to hear from more of you!

Join the Converis Africa User Group on LinkedIn!

3rd Research Forum Southern Africa – Spain

Today I spent a few hours at the 3rd Southern Africa – Spain Research Forum, whose theme was Science for the Global Good: A North‐South Dialogue and where I participated in the round table “NAVIGATING RESEARCH IN SOUTHERN AFRICA WITH A FOREIGN/EU BACKPACK ‐ TO COLLABORATE OR NOT TO COLLABORATE?” and met some old and new friends. Thanks to Alvaro and Fabiola and their colleagues for organising and for inviting me and to the Spanish Ambassador for hosting us!

Dutch Delegation Visit to UCT Astronomy

In an exciting display of international cooperation and astronomical exploration, the University of Cape Town (UCT) hosted a delegation from the Netherlands government at the RW James Building on 14 October (Saturday Night Fever). The event, organised by the UCT Department of Astronomy, included some speakers who shared their insights on the future possibilities of astronomy research. Here you can find UCT’s news item while below you can see me invoking the power of big data with my hands;-)

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