Despite the impetus to direct funding towards post-apartheid development imperatives like housing and basic service supply, the government is now prioritising research.Most research capacity in the higher education sector is located in the country’s top 12 universities, but the National Research Foundation is spending R43-million each year in an equity drive to boost research activity in the historically disadvantaged institutions. (Image: School Moves)Brand South Africa ReporterAfter years of academic isolation, the country’s higher education institutions have eagerly rejoined the international research environment.The country puts out more research than any other on the continent, generated by 12 500 academics and as many researchers based at research councils, institutes and companies. There are hundreds of researchers who have achieved international recognition as leaders in their fields of research.Most research capacity in the higher education sector is located in the country’s top 12 universities, but the National Research Foundation is spending R43-million each year in an equity drive to boost research activity in the historically disadvantaged institutions. Altogether, the higher education sector contributes 34 percent of the country’s research and development initiatives.Despite the impetus to direct funding towards post-apartheid development imperatives like housing and basic service supply, the government is now prioritising research. In 2001, state funding for research increased by 15%.The challenges presented by a developing country combined with first-world teaching and research facilities at some of our universities and technikons, provide unique opportunities for study and research in South Africa. Many local institutions are working in collaboration with foreign institutions, and many academics from abroad spend periods of time here.Applied research projectsThrip. Higher education institutions are also forging links with private companies on applied research projects. The government’s huge Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (Thrip) embraces government, industry, science councils and higher education institutions in joint ventures to develop new technology and skills for the country.Innovation Fund. The government has also set up an Innovation Fund, which received R125-million for 2000 – 2001. The initiative encourages multi-disciplinary collaboration on projects addressing major social and economic problems. Countless opportunities exist for students to embark on academic study and research that has a real impact on the broader society.Statutory research bodiesSouth Africa has eight statutory science councils through which the government commissions research for social, scientific and technological development. Each has its own web site, offering a huge range of science-, technology- and industry-related information, archives, databases, services, products, funding and other facilities.National Research Foundation. The NRF promotes research through funding, human resource development and the provision of research facilities in order to facilitate knowledge creation, innovation and development in all areas of science and technology. The NRF’s web site has plenty of information on research and funding opportunities in the higher education sector.For specific information on bursaries and scholarships administered by the NRF, click here.To access research funds for research to be conducted at historically black universities, click here.Agricultural Research Council. The Agricultural Research Council promotes agriculture and related sectors through research, technology development and technology transfer.Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The CSIR is the largest scientific and technological research, development and implementation organisation in Africa.Council for Geosciences. The Council for Geosciences provides geoscience information and services for the benefit of the people of South Africa.Human Sciences Research Council. The HSRC facilitates problem-solving and enhances decision-making through research excellence in the human sciences.Medical Research Council. The MRC improves South Africans’ health status and quality of life through relevant and excellent health research.Mintek. Mintek is one of the world’s leading technology providers, specialising in mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and related fields.South African Bureau of Standards. The SABS is responsible for the development and publication of standards for products and services.Other research organisationsAfrica Institute of South Africa. The AISA Promotes research on Africa and aims to further the aims of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad).Southern African Association for Institutional Research. The SAAIR furthers research and development in the context of research units in higher education institutions.South African Association for Research and Development in Higher Education. The SAARDHE aims to further research in higher education with grants and awards.For more information on research opportunities, visit Study South Africa.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
A round up of workplace developments and legal trends to help keep HR ahead of the curve Among the many developments or “disruptions” to the traditional workplace in 2016, the increasing presence of “people analytics” might be both the most promising and the most threatening. On the one hand, if you’re not using analytics, you’re not seeing the relationship between data sets like attendance rates and productivity or the level of a job applicant’s education compared with his or her likelihood to stay with the company, for example.Google’s people analytics motto is, after all, “All people decisions should be informed by data and analytics.” Widely considered to be one of the most imitated companies when it comes to HR strategy, Google’s analytical model seems…to be working for them.Deloitte Consulting released a research and prediction study for 2016 which focuses on analytics as the major progression for HR in 2016. The study polled CHROs, almost every single one of whom called “analytics” a top priority for the year ahead. That means companies are focused on creating a meaningful and useful database of information about their people, and are determined to use that database to inform (some) decision-making.On the other hand, HR Examiner Editor-in-Chief John Sumser says there is an inherent risk in over-reliance on data analytics to drive decision-making. This risk can be amplified when it comes to complicated decisions that employees make, such as whether to accept a job with a competitor. The risk of a poorly-understood data set would then – in theory – be multiplied by the number of employees the company is trying to analyze. Not only could the data be inaccurate, but it could also be incomprehensible when multiple data sets come into play.Internet retailer Zappos is going through one such experiment that was, in part, driven by people analytics. Productivity data told Zappos that a “no-bosses” hierarchy would work better because it would force all employees to become entrepreneurs within their own divisions. Zappos has shed 18% of its workforce through voluntary attrition programs during this experiment (comprised of ex-employees who didn’t agree with the new approach), but the company reports that the experiment is going well.It is inevitable that analytics will become part of corporate HR strategy (and I, for one, welcome our new analytical overlords), so as an HR community the best move is to embrace it, but to do so with a very critical eye. Some parts of it are extremely useful, but the heavier stuff – like figuring out which employees plan to stay with the company for their careers – those decisions should be left (for now) to the greatest computer ever created: the human brain.Discrimination nationFollowing up on another (very similar) story we have covered in HR Intel, Muslim Ariens Company employees in Wisconsin are now prohibited from praying during work unless they do so during meal breaks. However, their Islamic faith requires the employees to pray five times per day, several of which overlap with the standard work day.The employees claim the new policy amounts to discrimination and, in some cases, forced resignation or constructive discharge. Ariens will have to show “undue hardship” to the EEOC if challenged as to why it cannot offer a reasonable accommodation – something which it had apparently offered in the past. The question then becomes: what has changed? Is there a true undue hardship here or is the new policy reflective of the changing landscape for Muslims in the United States?The truth is out there, but equal pay for equal work still isn’t. When FOX thought to revive its beloved X Files franchise, it offered Gillian Anderson only 50% of what it offered David Duchovny to reprise their roles as Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. Anderson fought the injustice and got it corrected, but it makes you wonder how other women deal with this issue, particularly when they don’t have the clout in their jobs that Anderson has in hers.Lawyers, litigation and layoffsMore information is starting to leak out about the true legal meaning of the dreaded “joint employer” tag. The Department of Labor just issued guidance on joint employer status relating to claims under the FLSA and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA).The key takeaway from the DOL’s guidance is that both the FLSA and the MSPA are broadly interpreted when it comes to joint employer claims. This means most employers that have meaningful involvement in the day-to-day operations of workers will be considered joint employers for purposes of these claims. And that means bigger and more frequent lawsuits and more frequent (panicked) calls to employment counsel.Seyfarth Shaw’s annual Workplace Class Action Litigation report is out and – you guessed it – settlements with classes of aggrieved employees reached an all-time high in 2015, with the top 10 settlements totaling $2.5 billion (up from $1.9 billion in 2014). Wage and hour lawsuits led the way in 2015, emphasizing the danger to large companies, franchisors and multistate organizations whose employees make at or close to minimum wage.The drop in oil and gas prices is having a huge impact on workforces in the energy industry, with Houston being particularly hard-hit by the uncertainty. The industry experienced a boom in growth and hiring from 2008-2015 during the Shale revolution, but now is suffering through layoffs pacing the falling price of oil as geo-politics have clouded the picture. “The closer you are to the wellhead, the quicker you are to lose your job,” said a Houston-based energy consultant. Industry analysts expect it to get worse. Unemployment in the industry is at 8.5%, but it could go as high as 10% before the price of oil stabilizes.It’s a small world, after allThe Supreme Court will decide whether President Obama’s Executive Order allowing undocumented workers to apply for work permits and deportation relief is legal. Twenty-six states have challenged President Obama’s Executive Order as unlawful and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the states. The Supreme Court will likely hear the Obama administration’s appeal in April.STEM education for girls will be a boost for the global economy in the future. Considering so many jobs will be lost to technology in the coming years (there are those analytical overlords again), the impact of that will hurt women more than men because they represent a smaller portion of the global workforce.Advances in technology create new jobs too, but those jobs will require STEM education. That is where an educated population can set itself apart in the global economy and where women, in particular, can offset the coming… ahem robot apocalypse. The US Department of Education says that few American students pursue STEM fields, and women have a low participation rate in sectors that are expected to make up for future lost jobs.Crazy HR story of the “fortnight”A last minute addition to HR Intel comes from my esteemed colleague Beth Zoller. FOX 13 reports that a Florida man quit his job from Burger King and stole all of their chicken nuggets on the way out. The former frier had some choice words for his ex-employer, pretty much none of which can be re-published here.How is this song relevant to HR?In the last edition of HR Intel, we asked you how “Blue Sky” by The Allman Brothers Band is relevant to HR. Blue Sky is the group’s rarest track, having been played live for audiences only a handful of times. Sadly, it was one of the last songs ever recorded by Duane Allman, one of the founders of the band, before he was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident at age 27.For HR, Blue Sky is doubly relevant. First, it was written by Dickey Betts, but about his Native American girlfriend, whom he later married. The song – as originally intended – was a declaration of love, but across racial boundaries, something which continues to resonate in a world where discrimination persists.Second, given that it was both one of Duane Allman’s last songs and perhaps his best guitar solo, “Blue Sky” represents that one moment where everything is clicking. The whole band is together, everyone is in harmony and the music is at its very best. Those moments occur for HR as well – when retention and engagement are up and turnover and complaints are down – but they can be few and far between. When it happens, it’s best to just enjoy it. Oh, and Blue Sky is my favorite song, so I was determined to shoe-horn it into HR.We leave you with “Take On Me” by Norwegian synthpop group A-ha.Tell us how you think this song is relevant to HR in the comments section below.Originally posted on the XpertHR blog.
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Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Jordan delivers on promise: 2 Cobra choppers now in PH The Fatted Calf and Ayutthaya: New restos worth the drive to Tagaytay After 30 years, Johnlu Koa still doing ‘hard-to-make’ quality breads LATEST STORIES After the event was another story as representatives from the seven teams who are calling for Narvasa’s head quickly left the venue, while the other five stayed for a few minutes before making their exit.Romero assured everyone that the Board is still working on fixing the issue, saying the governors’ collective is making sure the league’s 43-year-old legacy still prevailed.“I think we’re a very solid group at this point in time. Business as usual. Basketball has to be fought inside the basketball courts, and it should remain inside the basketball courts. Any internal problems or whatever that we have, we will deal with it internally, within ourselves, within the 12 of us,” he said.“This Sunday, what we should be watching are the players, the superstars of Philippine basketball.”But the PBA couldn’t deny that the controversy took a toll on its major operations, with the usual extravagant opening ceremonies now watered down to a simple rites at the Big Dome.ADVERTISEMENT MRT 7 on track for partial opening in 2021 Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netAll is well with the PBA. Or so it seems.The 43rd season of Asia’s oldest play-for-pay league will push through this Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum, but not without a palpable cloud of unease which loomed over the preseason press conference Wednesday at Okada Manila.ADVERTISEMENT “The TV coveror was also hampered by all that’s happened,” shared PBA communications and external affairs director Willie Marcial. “But we’ll still have an opening ceremonies. For sure, there will still be a parade of players.”The board, though, vowed that the PBA will be as functional as it was before as Fernandez promised a bigger turnout this coming year.“What the board promises you is we will have a more exciting year and we’ll continue to delight the millions of fans of the PBA. We promise that with your support, we will continue to make the PBA very relevant to the Filipinos,” he said.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ View comments Malditas save PH from shutout Neymar to miss PSG Cup tie after returning to Brazil Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ League chair Mikee Romero of GlobalPort said all the right words in the symposium as 10 of the 12 governors convened for the first time since the controversial impasse, assuring the fans that the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup will push through as scheduled.“December 17 is still the date for the opening of season 43. We can’t take the PBA away from the Filipinos, or the Filipinos away from the PBA, ” said Romero, who remains the chairman of the board.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingAside from Romero, also present for the event are league vice chair Ramoncito Fernandez of NLEX, Robert Non of San Miguel, Alfrancis Chua of Ginebra, Rene Pardo of Magnolia, Dickie Bachmann of Alaska, Mert Mondragon of Rain or Shine, Raymond Zorrilla of Phoenix, Silliman Sy of Blackwater, Bobby Rosales of Kia, alternate governor Ryan Gregorio of Meralco, and TNT assistant team manager Magnum Membrere. All 12 representatives dined in one table, a landmark moment considering the friction that split the Board into two groups over the past two months.Embattled PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa was also at hand, but was on a separate table alongside his fellow league executives. The controversial figure opted to be a low-key figure on the side and hardly issued any statements, allowing the governors to take the center stage. ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims