Project catalogue



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Mode of cooperation

The Physics Department at UCT would like to send two to three postgraduate students to University of Bergen so that they could participate actively in the research efforts. It would also be helpful if senior staff from Bergen could visit Cape Town for periods of one to two months. Once the initial contacts have been established, further exchange could be maintained via the usual channels.



7 The Role of Courts in the Consolidation of Democracy and Social Transformation in South- Africa
Project no:

152259/V10

Grant Period:



1.9.2002-31.8.2005

Responsible University/Institution, Norway:



Chr. Michelsen Institute

Principle Investigator, Norway:



Gloppen, Siri Senior Researcher

Financed by RCN:

2002: 103,950 2003: 149,450 2004: 120,000

Responsible University/Institution: South Africa:



University of the Witwatersrand, Centre for Applied Legal Studies

Principle Investigator, South Africa:



Albertyn, Catherine H, Professor

Financed by NRF:

2002: 176,000 2003: 293,000 2004: 278,000 2005: 65,000


Main objectives:

The proposed research project will investigate the role played by courts in the linked processes of democratic consolidation and social transformation in South Africa, concentrating on three aspects in particular:



  • The accountability function of courts

  • The role of the courts in socio-economic transformation and the inclusion of marginalized groups; and Politicization of the courts and the foundation for judicial legitimacy.


Methodology:

The project will be divided into three phases, each concentrating on one of the three themes listed above. The papers written in each phase will be presented at a yearly workshop, to which international experts in the field will be invited. The research methods pursued will vary from paper to paper across the following range of disciplines: political science, normative legal analysis, critical legal studies and sociology of law.


Significance of proposed research:

The significance of this project is that it brings together researchers from different disciplines, allowing for the courts' role to be examined from a number of different, mutually illuminating angles. Because of its multidisciplinary nature, the project has the potential to make important contributions to several academic disciplines, including political science, sociology and law.


Mode of cooperation:

The South African and Norwegian researchers will contribute papers in each year under the identified theme, as well as collaborate on particular papers. Towards the end of each year, a workshop will be held in which the papers will be presented, and to which other (international) presenters will be invited. Throughout the project, research information will be exchanged, and researchers from each country (and historically disadvantaged postgraduate students from South Africa) will spend time in the other country.



8 Fungi associated with conifer-infesting bark beetles in Norway and South Africa
Project no:

152266/V10

Grant Period:



1.8.2002-31.7.2005

Responsible University/Institution, Norway:



Skogforsk, Norwegian Forest Research Institute

Principle Investigator, Norway:



Krokene, Paal Senior Researcher

Financed by RCN:

2002: 12,950 2003: 117,120 2004: 47,594 2005: 54,148

Responsible University/Institution, South Africa:



University of Pretoria, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute

Principle Investigator, South Africa:



Wingfield, Michael J, Professor

Financed by NRF:

2002: 102,000 2003: 283,000 2004: 333,000 2005: 250,000
Main Objectives:

Both South Africa and Norway have strong industries based on forestry. Norway has a long history of forestry research and is particularly well-known for the work that has been done in the areas of forest pathology and forest entomology. It is in this general area that the two partner institutions hope to collaborate.


Bark beetles represent one of the great threats to conifer plantations. These insects carry a guild of fungi that apparently contribute to tree death. Much work has been done on the bark beetle-associated fungi in Norway, but little is known regarding these organisms in South Africa. The main objective of this collaborative project will be to characterize the fungal pathogens associated with a number of important bark beetles in Norway. These insects have relatives in South Africa and the research will contribute to an understanding of bark beetle biology, the identification of fungi associated with bark beetles, as well as the impact of bark beetles and their fungal associates on forest trees.
Methodology:

Bark beetles, particularly in the genera Ips and Hylastes are common in Europe including Norway. Some have also been accidentally introduced into South Africa. The project will focus this study at two levels:



  • It will isolate fungal associates and characterize these taxonomically, using both conventional and molecular (DNA sequencing) techniques. Where appropriate, the fungi will be compared with those from introduced insects in South Africa

  • Additionally, for a few species of dominant fungi the project will consider population structures and compare these between Norway and South Africa.

This work will be done by producing micro-satellite markers that are informative at the population level. Furthermore, Skogforsk has developed outstanding models to assess the significance of the fungi associated with bark beetles, and these models will be tested in South Africa.
Significance of proposed Research:

There are a number of levels of significance for this collaborative venture including: Development of a deeper understanding of the ecology of bark beetles and their fungal associates. Some of the fungi have not been characterized and poor identifications are already impacting negatively on trade, which is important to both Norway and South Africa. Through undertaking population biology studies, one hopes to discover the origins of fungi associated with introduced bark beetles in South Africa. This will aid in improving quarantine measures both in South Africa and Norway. Patterns of spread of the fungi and their insect vectors will be discovered. Very little is known regarding the pathogenicity of fungi associated with invasive conifer bark beetles in South Africa. The experience of Skogforsk in this domain will enable us to better understand this important matter.


Mode of cooperation:

The two partner institutions have mutual and complimentary interest in the proposed research domain. Students and staff will be exchanged and research will be undertaken in both Pretoria and ζs. Forest Entomology is a seriously neglected area in South Africa and the work will contribute significantly to increasing capacity. FABI has a strong focus on training students with disadvantaged backgrounds and special effort will be made to focus on this group of students.



9 Developing a normative framework for effective and efficient social security provisioning: An institutional perspective
Project no:

152267/V10

Grant Period:



1.1.2003-31.12.2005

Responsible University/Institution, Norway:



University of Bergen,

Rokkan Centre

Principle Investigator, Norway:



Kuhnle, Stein Professor

Financed by RCN:

2003: 264,000 2004: 144,000 2005: 24,000

Responsible University/Institution, South Africa:



Rand Afrikaans University, Centre for International and Comparative Labor and Social Security Law

Principle Investigator, South Africa:



Olivier, Marius P, Professor

Financed by NRF:

2003: 136,000 2004: 256,000 2005: 216,000
Main Objectives:

The main objective of the project is to determine the elements and criteria necessary in an institutional framework to ensure the provision of efficient and effective social security in South Africa. The focus is thus on the development of a normative framework for the proper functioning of social security institutional arrangements which enjoy, or at least will come to enjoy, legitimacy among both the stakeholder community and the population at large. The project is based on an inclusive approach, whereby appropriate provisioning and service delivery will support social inclusion and ensure adequate protection.



Methodology:

Owing to the multidisciplinary nature of the project, various research methods will be utilized, including the review of South African comparative literature, the traditional analysis of institutions and arrangements and empirical work (consisting of consultation sessions with relevant institutional and policy-making stakeholders in South Africa, based on a semi-structured questionnaire). More concrete methodologies will be worked out at the initial planning workshop, contemplated in the proposal itself.


Mode of cooperation:

The various researchers will reflect on particular issues within the South African context against comparative, conceptual and principled perspectives. Each junior researcher will be under the supervision of a senior researcher (in South Africa, together with the added involvement of the Norwegian colleagues). Workshops will then be held during which researchers will reflect jointly on the given themes. Progress reports will be written by the researchers on a regular basis and then reviewed by a core group of senior research team-members (comprising Professors Olivier, Kalula and Mhone). Dr Edwill Kaseke of Harare, Zimbabwe will also assist in reflecting on the work done from a SADC and African perspective. Research and training visits to research institutions in Bergen, Norway by two masters and two doctoral students are also planned for three and six months in 2003 and 2004, respectively. In turn, it is also envisaged that two Norwegian post-doctoral fellows will visit South Africa


Significance of proposed Research:

The project - through its research - is expected to lead to the development of ethical and governance issues of social security provisioning and service delivery. Norms or standards for social security provisioning may be identified. Apart from the political contribution/objectives to be rendered by the project outcomes, however, the aim of developing a proper framework for institutional system development will also be well served.

The research has, among others, the following specific envisaged outcomes:


  • Research training and capacity building through collaboration developed for the purposes of the project, the undertaking of supervised research at respectable research institutions in South Africa and in Norway and the contribution of the project to post-graduate areas of research of involved junior researchers.

  • Integration of the research findings into the curricula of a range of social security courses in which most of the research participants are involved at their particular institutions

  • Exchange of valuable scientific information and staff.

  • Appropriate publications (in particular, project publications).

  • Dissemination of research findings to the scientific community and the relevant social security institutional stakeholders themselves.

10 Cellular Mechanisms of Cardiac Protection
Project no:

152269/V10

Grant Period:



1.9.2002-31.12.2004

Responsible University/Institution, Norway:



University of Tromø, Faculty of Medicine

Principle Investigator, Norway:



Larsen, Terje S. Professor

Financed by RCN:

2002: 45,600 2003: 345,100 2004: 84,000

Responsible University/Institution, South Africa:



University of Cape Town/Hatter Institute, Medicine/Faculty of Health Sciences

Principle Investigator, South Africa:



Opie, Lionel H, Professor

Financed by NRF:

2002: 179,000 2003: 343,000 2004: 159,000
Main objectives:

A firmly established collaboration exists between the Hatter Institute for Cardiology Research (Univ. of Cape Town) and the Department of Medical Physiology at the University of Tromsø (see PART II - PREVIOUS CO-OPERATION). In addition the Hatter Institute at Univ. of Cape Town and the Department of Medical Physiology at The University of Stellenbosch have collaborative projects and overlapping seminar series.

To complete the circle, a technician from Stellenbosch (Mrs S. Genade) spent a month working at the Department of Physiology at Tromsø in September 2001. Collectively these three laboratories are ideally placed to both build on existing strong collaborations and to expand on the new collaborations that are being developed. This combined application builds on the above foundation and will contribute to closer collaborative efforts and shared research objectives of the three groups.

The overall objectives of the respective laboratories are to understand fundamental cellular processes effecting myocardial cellular function that may result in cardiac disease states. Understanding these fundamental processes may identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of cardiac diseases. The lead investigators at the three Universities include: (Uni. of Cape Town — AIProf M.N. Sack); (Uni. of Stellenbosch — Prof. A. Lochner) and (Univ. of Tromsø — Professors O.D. Mjos, T.S. Larsen and K. Ytrehus). Multiple other investigators at the three Universities will be involved in the research and are listed in Names and affiliations of other researchers participating in the project section.


Methodology:

This application has been designed to utilize a combination of classical pharmacology and biochemistry combined with state of the art genetic - engineering technology (conditional cell-specific gene ablation technology) to answer the questions raised in this study. Due to the collaboration between three Universities and multiple investigators, the projects are divided into three areas of collaboration. The projects are listed below:



  • Project 1: Innate immunity activated signaling in augmenting cardio protection against myocardial ischemia

  • Project 2: Investigation into the effects of melatonin on the ischemic heart

  • Project 3: Reduced cardiac efficiency - a component of diabetic cardiomyopathy?


Significance of proposed research:

Cellular protection is the new challenge for patient management in cardiovascular diseases. The objectives of our proposed studies are to enhance the understanding of the cellular and molecular events directing intrinsic programs that promote cellular survival in the context of ischemia and in response to a highly prevalent risk factor for heart disease. i.e. in the context of diabetes. These data may result in the identification of therapeutic targets for the future development of drugs to promote cell survival during ischemia and enhanced function in the diabetic heart.


Mode of cooperation:

This application is based on common research interests and on already established cooperative research initiatives. The application will draw on expertise in the three laboratories and the projects are designed to be fully integrated with components of current studies being undertaken at the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Tromsø.



11 Behaviour and management of two important estaurine fishery species
Project no:

152284/V10

Grant Period:



1.1.2003-31.12.2005

Responsible University/Institution, Norway:



NINA, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research

Principle Investigator, Norway:



Næsje, Tor F. Senior Researcher

Financed by RCN:

2003: 184,800 2004: 164,000 2005: 179,200

Responsible University/Institution, South Africa:



SAIAB, Research Division
Principle Investigator, South Africa:

Cowley, Paul D, Dr

Financed by NRF:

2003: 246,000 2004: 176,000 2005: 172,000
Main objectives:

The project seeks to investigate the movement behavior and its implications for management of South -Africa’s two most important estuarine fishery species (spotted grunter Pomadasys commersonnli and dusky kob Argyrosomusjaponicus) in the Great Fish estuary (Eastern Cape Province).


In many poorly developed areas, the availability and capture of estuarine fishery resources plays a major role in the local economy. Due to the poor status of many estuarine-associated fish stocks, the sustainability of these fisheries is in question. Sound management practices are therefore required. This cannot be achieved without thorough knowledge of the population biology, including movement and migratory behavior of the targeted species.
Significance of proposed research:

The data obtained on the spatio-temporal availability of fish in the estuary will be used to assess the potential impact of the various fishery sectors, as well as the potential value of area closure or estuarine protected areas as an alternative management tool. The management of estuarine fisheries in South Africa has been seriously neglected in the past; hence the project will make a significant contribution to ensure sustainable utilization of these heavily targeted species. Furthermore, the introduction of new methodologies and expertise will provide innovative insights into ecosystem (estuarine) and fisheries management initiatives in South Africa.


Methodology:

With recent advances in biotelemetry, individual fish can be continuously tracked for reasonable periods of time. Making use of telemetry methods, the movement behavior, activity patterns and home range size of spotted grunter and dusky kob tagged will be assessed in the Great Fish estuary. The periodicity and duration of migrations between the estuary and the sea will also be investigated by the use of automatic listening stations. The obtained data will be coupled with fishery related data (biological, social and economic) already collected from this estuary (Cowley, unpublished data) to address the management needs.


Mode of cooperation:

The project will be carried out in close co-operation between all the participants of the project, under the leadership of Dr Paul Cowley from South Africa and Dr Tor F. Næsje from Norway. The South African team constitutes the main expertise on biology of the species studied and the local conditions, whereas the Norwegian team constitutes the main expertise on telemetry methods. The co-operation of all team members, via fieldwork and joint publication of results, will encourage a long-term collaborative research arrangement between the South African and Norwegian scientists. The project involves researchers from both historically disadvantaged and advantag&1 institutions in South Africa and will provide (i) an opportunity for one female black student to obtain an MSc degree (A. Hitula -Rhodes University), and (ii) training to junior researchers and post-graduate students from Zululand University.



12 Schooling, Cultural Values and HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Project no:

152293/V10

Grant Period:



1.9.2002-31.8.2005

Responsible University/Institution:



Oslo University College, Faculty of Education

Principle Investigator, Norway:



Breidlid, Anders Researcher

Financed by RCN:

2003: 79,728 2004: 79,728 2005: 99,440

Responsible University/Institution, South Africa:

University of Cape Town, School of Education

Principle Investigator, South Africa:



Baxen, Jean

Financed by NRF:

2003: 268,000 2004: 229,000 2005: 241,000
Main Objectives:

Using HIV/AIDS as the major focus, the project’s main objectives are to examine the interrelationship between the values underpinning concepts of tradition, modernity and education as articulated within schools and communities, and between local communities and schools and to explore the interrelationship between specific educational programs and changes in sexual, behavioral patterns during the three year period in which the research is undertaken.


Methodology:

The methodology will be largely qualitative employing case study approaches and using ethnographic methods such as: life history interview, focus group, teacher and pupil diaries and documentary analysis.


Significance of proposed Research:

Provide evidence of HIV/AIDS within a holistic and purposeful manner; revealing the inter-relationships between cultural values and the pandemic, and in critically examining the role schools, and particularly teachers, can play in responding to the disease.


Mode of cooperation:

The mode of cooperation will build on existing collaboration and will take the form of exchange visits between principal and senior researchers. A particular aim of the co-operation is to build up South African research capacity through support and guidance throughout the research process.

This application is a joint application between the University of Western Cape (UWC), Cape Town, the University of Cape Town (UCT), Cape Town and Oslo University College (OUC), Oslo. All three institutions within the respective Faculties of Education have a special interest in education and HIV/AIDS The two researchers from the OUC are already conducting educational research on schooling and values in South Africa (funded by the NFR), and the UWC as well as the UCT are engaged with the question of schooling and HIV/AIDS in South Africa, both in teaching and research. The present research project seeks to develop added competence and knowledge in the field of education and HIV/AIDS through this research project. The project thus covers two of thematic are as for this research co-operation.
13 Biodiversity, rarity, life history and phylogeny: a case study in the hepatic family Lophoziaceae
Project no:

152297/V10

Grant Period:



1.1.2003-31.12.2005

Responsible University/Institution, Norway:



NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Biology

Principle Investigator, Norway:



Söderström, Lars Professor

Financed by RCN:

2003: 90,200 2004: 117,800 2005: 155,200

Responsible University/Institution, South Africa:



University of Cape Town, Department of Botany

Principle Investigator, South Africa:



Hedderson, Terry A J, Dr

Financed by NRF:

2003: 233,000 2004: 254,000 2005: 204,000
Main objectives:


  • To study the phylogeny, distribution and rarity patterns of taxa in the family Lophoziaceae.

  • To study the life history parameters and genetic variability for as many species of the family as possible

  • To evaluate the effect of different life history parameters and life history traits on distribution and rarity, in a phylogenetic context.


Methodology:

An ability to understand diversity and rarity of species is crucial in both species and biodiversity conservation, as well as in understanding responses to environmental changes such as global warming or deforestation. A true understanding of rarity requires information on genetic variation, rarity/abundance patterns, distributional patterns, and the phylogenetic context in which these patterns have originated. Whilst understanding the connections between all these facets of species biology is of fundamental importance for the study and conservation of biodiversity and for effective environmental management, studies that incorporate more than one of these aspects are rare or lacking. We propose a case study of the liverwort family Lophoziaceae. It integrates information from all of these areas in an assessment of rarity, its consequences and correlates, and their implications for understanding current biodiversity and predicting the effects of future natural and man-made changes.

Our study addresses the following questions:


  • What life history parameters are most characteristic of widespread vs. restricted species

  • What life history parameters are characteristic of rare and abundant species

  • Are there any relations between genetic variation and rarity or distribution

  • What are the phylogenetic relations between life history parameters

  • What are the relations between phylogeny, distribution and variation

To this end we will aim to complete the following tasks:



  • to study the phylogeny, distribution and rarity patterns of taxa in the family Lophoziaceae

  • to study the life history parameters and genetic variability for as many species of the family as possible

  • to evaluate the effect of different life history parameters and life history traits on distribution and rarity, in a phylogenetic context.


Significance of proposed Project:

This project will contribute significantly to the understanding of rarity patterns, and to the possibility of truly conserving biodiversity. This is the first study of this kind with lower plants and the results will therefore be useful for an array of other organisms. The integrative approach that we propose is novel, and should have wide applicability to other groups of organisms. We expect that the result will have a direct influence on the conservation strategy adopted for many plants. We also anticipate producing more reliable models of the effects of environmental change. Capacity building in these areas is absolutely vital to the continued conservation of South Africa's wealth of natural diversity.

The phylogenetic and genetic analyses, which rely on use of DNA-based approaches, will be conducted in South Africa.
Mode of cooperation:

The life history and rarity assessments will be coordinated through the Norwegian partner. Both will require reciprocal field studies. The final integrative component will be the joint responsibility of the two partners. South African students involved in the life history and rarity assessment phases will need to spend substantial time working with the Norwegian partner. Those investigating phylogeny and genetic variation should benefit from field experience with non-South African members of the family.




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