On the 7th of April 2016 the Sustainability Research Unit hosted a Research Associates Symposium at the George Campus of Nelson Mandela University.

The aim of the symposium was to showcase the work and interests of researchers that are affiliated with the SRU and to highlight the potential for collaboration between these associates, external researchers working in the Garden Route and Nelson Mandela University staff and students.

There were seven Research Associates who presented, including:

Dr Dirk Roux

Specialist Scientist: SANParks; Research Associate: SRU; Adjunct Professor: Nelson Mandela University

Dr Jeanne Nel

Principal Scientist: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (CSIR); Research Associate: SRU

Dr Robert Fincham

Research Associate: SRU

Dr Peter Novellie

Research Associate: SRU

Dr Herve Fritz

Director of Research: CNRS Hwange LTER program; Research Associate: SRU

Prof Janine Adams

Professor, Department of Botany: NMMU; SRU Manco member

Prof Winston Trollope

Research & Development: Working on Fire; Research Associate: NMMU School of Natural Resource Management

Read more on these SRU members here.

The presentations captivated the interest of all who participated. This was evident by the active engagements between participants and research associates during and after the symposium. Some of the reflections from the day’s events included:

  • Trans-disciplinarity is difficult, but it’s the way to go
  • Learning is a social activity with individuals backing different topics
  • There is potential for the Garden Route to become a social-ecological laboratory, to pilot experiments, practices and theories for synergies in social-ecological management
  • Patience is necessary in social-ecological research as it often take more time than traditional biological research.
  • The process matters and it is important to reflect on the puzzle as well as the pieces
  • Collaboration can help one get mentally unstuck and can increase the mobility of knowledge
  • Passion is contagious

The SRU would like to thank its’ Research Associates and all who participated in the event. We predict that this will be the start of many interesting research collaborations in the near future.