College of College of Graduate Studies

CGS leading Unisa's catalytic niche area optimisation

Prof Jessica Murray from the College of Graduate Studies (CGS) is facilitating the college's catalytic niche areas optimisation interventions. The CGS supports all colleges optimising the catalytic niche areas (CNAs) in their different disciplinary spaces through various interventions. By leading these interventions, Murray ensures that Unisa develops rich and rigorous institutional-level engagements with all its CNAs.

The CGS is committed to a scaffolded approach to optimisation, where it respects discipline-specific voices from colleges and believes in the value of an institutional-level response. The college is leading in mobilising multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary engagements in all niche areas. Our approach is grounded in expansive conceptualisations of each CNA with a firm belief that all colleges can meaningfully contribute to optimising all CNAs.


During March 2024, the college hosted a series of CGS-facilitated CNA working group meetings. A session was dedicated to each of the 10 CNAs. CGS is committed to offering similar sessions throughout the year to ensure that each CNA receives the scholarly attention it deserves. By hosting regular CNA working group meetings where all colleges are represented, CGS aims to maintain momentum in the CNA work already being done in various pockets across the university.

In addition, the sessions will support colleagues who are struggling to succeed in their CNA projects. By offering these sessions from the CGS, we will be providing a valuable resource for colleagues who wish to get out of their disciplinary silos so that they can exploit the full scholarly potential of multidisciplinary engagements with the niche areas. The sessions welcome colleagues at all career levels and postgraduate students to facilitate interaction and skills transfer between established and emerging researchers. The meetings have already helped spark innovative ways of thinking that allow for expansive understandings, which, in turn, open up avenues for CNA participation. By challenging disciplinary silos, the CGS will facilitate a pooling of resources and generate collaboration opportunities for maximal CNA optimisation. 

The CGS is proud to play a leadership role in CNA optimisation; its efforts align well with its core mandate as a service and support college. 

You can join the CGS-facilitated CNA working groups in the next series of meetings. For more information, visit If you want to join one or more catalytic niche area working groups,  contact Prof Jessica Murray at 

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* By Hanli Wolhuter, Communication and Marketing Specialist, College of Graduate Studies

Publish date: 2024/04/10

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