eResearch Report 2017 - 2018 - Page 7



Introductions
After making their impact felt at UCT, and changing
the research endeavour at this university – and
arguably in this country – for the better, both Sakkie
and Gwenda are moving on to the next chapters
of their lives. While they will both be sorely missed,
the work they have begun will be continued and will
ensure that our researchers are fully supported to
face the challenges of research in the digital age.
Sakkie started setting up a highperformance computing (HPC)
service at ICTS in 2009. Over the
years, this was expanded into
a broader project to support
the research endeavour, in the
form of a cross-departmental
partnership between ICTS,
the Research Office and UCT
Libraries. This collaboration
was formalised in 2014 with the
launch of UCT eResearch, which
continues to provide a core
service to researchers today.
There is no doubt that without
Sakkie’s initial vision – and his
determination to implement that
vision – UCT eResearch would
not be the leader it is today.
I also cannot emphasise
enough the vital role UCT
Libraries played in this
innovative research support
space – a role in which the
leadership of UCT Libraries
executive director, Gwenda
Thomas, was pivotal. Under
Gwenda’s guidance, UCT
Libraries transitioned from its
traditional role as custodian of
books and paper journals to
an institution that recognises
that libraries are at the heart
of the academic community
and are needed to provide
support to researchers
– even in the digital age.
Under Gwenda’s watch, UCT
Libraries upgraded their
learning spaces, introduced a
collaborative research space
to host the eResearch data
visualisation wall, upskilled
their teams, created an online
presence and introduced
new data management
services to better support
researchers. This includes
the establishment of the
Digital Library Services
(DLS), and the development
and implementation of the
research data management
(RDM) policy as a response
to the changing international
landscape where research data
is concerned.
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