North-West University (NWU) academic and researcher, Prof Nico Smit has been appointed as an adjunct professor in marine biology and ecology at the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science at the University of Miami (UM), USA.
The title of adjunct professor is the equivalent of an extraordinary professorship, showcasing the recognition of his exceptional contributions to the field.
Prof Smit's appointment was the result of a nomination by his long-term research collaborator, Prof Paul Sikkel, who is also an NWU/UM extraordinary professor. The decision was reached following a rigorous examination of Prof Smit's credentials and a vote by the entire faculty of the Marine, Biology and Ecology Department at the UM.
He says the appointment is an honour for him and the NWU.
“The Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science is consistently ranked among the top 20 institutes globally for marine research. This appointment therefore also reflects on the quality of research at the NWU in the field of marine biology and ecology. This is a great achievement for an inland university.”
Prof Smit's new role opens up exciting opportunities for further collaboration and strengthens the existing partnership between the NWU and the UM. The two institutions have already established a memorandum of understanding to facilitate research collaboration and academic exchange. This recent development will provide a significant boost to this partnership.
In addition to fostering research collaborations, Prof Smit's affiliation with the UM will enable the NWU to tap into funding opportunities provided by the US National Science Foundation. This financial support can greatly enhance research initiatives and projects at the NWU.
The NWU community congratulates Prof Smit on this well-deserved recognition and anticipates the continued growth of the university's academic and research endeavours on the global stage.
More about Prof Nico Smit
Prof Nico Smit is the co-founder of the NWU-Water Research Group and is currently one of the NWU's highest National Research Foundation (NRF-) -rated researchers with a B1 rating (internationally acclaimed scholar).
His research specialisation is in marine and freshwater ecology and parasitology, focusing on the role of keystone species in aquatic ecosystems and the anthropogenic impacts on them. He has published more than 200 papers in high impact international journals and actively supervises postgraduate students. More than 20 PhD and 35 MSc students in the fields of aquatic ecology, fish biology, marine and freshwater parasitology have graduated from his research group.
Prof Smit currently lead and co-lead various multi-million-rand research projects. Among these are two projects dedicated to the conservation of Southern Africa's unique freshwater ecosystems and another focused on the biodiversity of parasites on coral reefs. The latter include sites in the Caribbean, Great Barrier Reef Australia, the South-Western Indian Ocean and the Philippines.
Prof Nico Smit and Prof Paul Sikkel from the University of Miami at Nature’s Valley during one of Prof Sikkel’s research visits to South Africa.