Optentia – looking back, looking forward…

Annette Willemse -- Mon, 01/18/2016 - 10:28

Optentia – looking back, looking forward…

The Optentia Research Focus Group is looking forward to a productive 2016, and if their achievements of the past year is anything to go by then they will remain a force to be reckoned with during the new academic year.


The following outcomes of 2015 stand out:

  • A new record was set regarding peer-reviewed publications. More than 100 articles (more than 50 article equivalents) were accepted for publication.
  • The most PhDs in the history of Optentia were submitted for examination.
  • One participant in Optentia received a research rating from the National Research Foundation. Optentia is making real progress regarding the number of staff members who completed their PhD studies.
  • A total of six Optentia participants were promoted from January 2016.
  • A project manager was appointed on 1 November 2015. The project manager will play a critical role in building national and international networks with decision makers and funding agencies.
  • A record number of workshops were presented to build the competence of researchers within Optentia.
  • A short learning programme in Research Design was presented for the first time. Optentia is making good progress with the establishment of a web-based system that supports research competence development.
  • An agreement was signed between KULeuven (Belgium) and the Vaal Triangle Campus which will lead to three joint doctoral degrees.
  • Several interesting research projects were developed in 2015. Optentia plans to secure funding for these projects in 2016.
  • The number of post-doctoral fellowships will increase to seven in 2016.
  • Prof Tumi Khumalo, Dr Janvier Rugira and Prof Mary Grosser made a big contribution in terms of establishing networks with universities in Zambia, Kenya and Nigeria.
Prof Ian Rothmann

“Looking at 2016, we realise that the transformation at the university and the expectations of students will present challenges for research entities. However, the South African and international contexts present many opportunities to conduct cutting edge research and to shape the future,” says Prof Ian Rothmann, Director of the Optentia Research Focus Group. “We plan to continue to conduct innovative research and find ways to optimize the potential of individuals, relationships, and institutions. Constructs such as emotional well-being, autonomous motivation, meaning and purpose, engagement, relatedness, learning, and social well-being will remain relevant.”

* The mission of the Optentia Research Focus Area is to develop and organise knowledge for the optimal expression of individual, social and institutional potential, with specific interest in the African context. The research programme utilises the inputs from various disciplines in the social sciences, including Psychology, Industrial/Organisational Psychology, Educational Psychology, Sociology, Educational Sciences, Employment Relations, and Social Work.