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Friday, 15 May 2020

Research excellence recognised

MOTIVATIONS: Phytomedicine and Photochemistry Research Group Leader, Prof Oluwafemi Oguntibeju aspires to continual contribution to the knowledge economy and postgraduate training. MOTIVATIONS: Phytomedicine and Photochemistry Research Group Leader, Prof Oluwafemi Oguntibeju aspires to continual contribution to the knowledge economy and postgraduate training.

Prof Oluwafemi Oguntibeju’s research on medicinal plants and chronic diseases is not going unnoticed and has earned him a nomination in the Data for Research Award category of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) -South32 Awards.

The category deals with the availability of a person’s research data (publications) and usage by other researchers and scientists on different platforms such as Google Scholar, Figshare, LiveDNA, Pubmed, and university repository. It also relates to the citation and impact of such publications.

The Phytomedicine and Photochemistry Research Group Leader has been nominated for the first time and his research focus has been on medicinal plants and chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus and HIV/AIDS. “It shows that other researchers are reading and making use of my scientific publications.

“It provides some kind of motivation to contribute more to the scientific community in terms of scientific publications,” he divulges.  

“[It’s] recognition of my research publications and it indicates that CPUT researchers are actively involved in significant research activities that are of relevance nationally and internationally… It takes hard work, focus, and perseverance…I am not sure about the number of [my] competitors, [I am] not worried by the number at all... I see my work as a service rather than a competition.”

He attributes his academic achievements to, ‘focus’ coupled with support from his colleagues and management. “I cannot attribute my success to a single person or factor. [It] is a combination of factors and other contributions from others including my family, colleagues, and CPUT management.”

Oguntibeju aspires to “continual contribution to the knowledge economy and postgraduate training”. Asked about his feelings about his academic achievements and impact of his research in the community, the researcher who likes reading Christian books and listening to music says, “[I am] happy but could still do more; my aim is to do more”.

He always tries not to take academic work home except if it’s extremely necessary. “Of course, with the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I have to work from home. It’s a bit challenging.

“My children think that the only thing I do is writing papers… However, they also know that I do have time for them. They like teasing me. We laugh a lot.”

Oguntibeju was recently admitted as Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a recognition that was based on his scientific publications. In his busy schedule, he also collaborates with colleagues on specific projects at the University of the Western Cape, University of Ibadan, and other universities in South Africa and other countries.

“I would like to say thank you to CPUT for the opportunity to contribute to the scientific community and train postgraduate students. To my colleagues/collaborators, I also want to say thank you, you mean so much to me.”

Written by Aphiwe Boyce