College of Economic & Management Sciences

NSTF-South32 triple nomination honour for exceptional Unisan

Prof Marcia Mkansi

"I am honoured and extremely humbled to have been nominated and ultimately, to reach the finals of the 2020/2021 NSTF-South32 Awards across three categories. Most importantly, it is an honour to share the platform with so much greatness," says Unisa's Prof Marcia Mkansi, an associate professor in the Department of Operations Management under the College of Economic and Management Sciences. She was nominated in the categories: TW Kambule-NSTF: Researcher; Innovation: Corporate Organisation; and Special Annual Theme Awards.

At the awards ceremony held on 30 September 2021, the honours ultimately went to Prof Bruce Mellado (TW Kambule-NSTF: Researcher), Prof Bavesh Kana (Innovation: Corporate Organisation) and Dr Tegan Bristow (Special Annual Theme Awards), all from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Mkansi remarks: "The nominations are testament of God’s mercy and generous blessing, to Him be the glory!" She adds: "They also showcase the university’s ability to create a conducive environment for me and others to excel, and open countless opportunities for possible collaborations to create social and economic value necessary to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals."

Mkansi maintains that the nominations also create visibility and attract industry, academic and government partners to collaborate with her and other researchers. "Together we can use our research to play a more meaningful role in the transformation of Africa," she says.

Explaining what the nominations are about, she says: "The TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Researcher is about contribution through research and its outputs by an individual over a period from 6 to 15 years of research work from the commencement of their research career, predominantly in South Africa."

She says that the Innovation: Corporate Organisation Award is about outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology (SET) through innovations and their research and/or development in South Africa over the last 5 to 10 years. "And, the Special Annual Theme Award is about an outstanding contribution to SET and innovation which contributes to the creative economy."

Passionate about research that drives transformation

Speaking about how her research links to the categories, Mkansi explains: "With regard to the Innovation Award, it is about the healthcare supply chain research and innovation that enables businesses, non-government organisations, government agencies and social entrepreneurs to leverage digital technologies to generate positive social impacts."

She adds: "The innovation equips last-mile primary healthcare providers, small suppliers and manufacturers of healthcare products, and government with the necessary tools and knowledge to manage and respond to a multi-embedded supply chain coordination problem, necessary to limit the impact of malaria on vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant women."

As for the TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Researcher, it is about research that presents an innovative way of applying supply chain and operations principles to knowledge production. "The research explored innovative pedagogical approaches to support students’ understanding and the use of complex research philosophies." She continues: "It ultimately helps to democratise the understanding of complex research theories and their paradigms, thus addressing a challenge that scholars have been facing for many years, and a cause of discomfort for students."

Mkansi further states that the Special Annual Theme Award is about her ability to convert her findings into creative outputs. "The creativity is beyond the challenge being addressed, to include new knowledge that invokes creativity in others." "Further, it is the research’s potential towards social and economic value such as jobs and creative industries."

Mkansi is eager to broaden research connections for long-term international collaborations that can serve as an eco-system of scholars that drives transformation in Africa and beyond.

* By Nancy Legodi, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2021/10/04