Tuks Young Research Leader Programme (TYRLP)

The speed and quality of the development of science at UP, and beyond, not only depends on infrastructure and technical training, but is intimately linked to the quality of leadership to lead change. In this regard, it is widely accepted that the future of scientific development lies in enabling interdisciplinary, interconnected and often large, international teams. Training structures are, however, often not set up to prepare a next generation of scientists for the complexities that an interconnected approach to science entails. Furthermore, there is an internationally emerging paradigm that recognizes that the focus on individual leadership is insufficient to address complex challenges, which require skills across many sectors and collaborative processes.

Overview of the Programme
The TYRLP is an initiative of Future Africa at the University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Africa Science Leadership Programme (ASLP) and Inclusive Innovation. It serves early career researchers in basic and applied science, engineering, social sciences, arts and the humanities.

The programme aims to grow early career academics at UP in the areas of thought leadership, team development, engagement and collaboration, with the intention of enabling them to solve the complex issues that face society.

A further aim is to form a community within the University of the like-minded young researchers who possess qualities that will contribute to UP becoming and leading as a research intensive University, in line with the projected UP 2025 vision.

An exciting element for the 2019 TYRLP cohort is that they will share the experience of the workshop with the Early Career Research Leader Fellows (ECRLF). The ECRLF is also an initiative of Future Africa, funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and consists of 15 excellent researchers from 7 African countries. The intention is to create the opportunity for a rich exchange of ideas that transcend institutions, research fields and countries on the African continent.

Initiatives will be developed in line with the Future Africa research themes:

  • Future Education – empowering people through access to transformative education opportunities for the 21st century and beyond
  • Equity in a Global Africa – creating and navigating pathways to a just world through research-led policy, governance and social innovation
  • From African Soil – realising diversity, justice and technology to transform African production systems for equitable and sustainable opportunities
  • Health People and Place – unlocking novel capacities to ensure the right to health and wellbeing by addressing the priority challenges for all people in Africa

The leadership programme:

  • Identifies early career academics who have demonstrated leadership potential and an interest in developing key leadership skills
  • Supports them to apply the acquired skills to leadership initiatives that are relevant to the development of their academic careers and its impact
  • Creates a network of early career academic leaders at UP, spanning across disciplinary boundaries
  • Advances a curriculum for academic leadership development, which can be utilised by others.

Programme Structure
The programme will use a highly interactive approach to training, application of skills to a leadership initiative, peer support, and mentorship. Fellows will attend a two day, intensive on-site programme at Future Africa. The process will involve an approach that cycles between theory, application and reflection. Participants will be challenged to work collaboratively to design initiatives that advance a new paradigm for their science

The training will cover elements of:

  • Core elements of collective leadership
  • Creative and systems thinking
  • Development of effective networks
  • Stakeholder engagement for change
  • Maximising the efficiency and impact of collaborative efforts
  • Advanced dialogue and communication skills
  • Effective problem solving and decision making

Expected commitment
The TYRLP is seeking candidates who are committed to developing science leadership at UP. The training itself requires the time commitment of a two day training session, including the evening function on the first day.
Furthermore, fellows will be expected to develop their leadership skills and engage with other fellows and the ASLP team for peer support following the training.

Selection criteria and application process
To be selected, applicants need to display a compelling vision of their future involvement in the development of leadership initiatives, programmes, human capacity, specific policies or societal structures. The selection process will consider individual qualities but also focus on ensuring a diversity of culture, subject background (Natural and Social Sciences, Humanities) and gender among the fellows.

The following criteria are used as a guide for the nomination and selection of fellows:

  • A research fellowship with 2 years experience or a faculty position at UP;
  • Outstanding scientific potential and outputs;
  • A desire to nurture a culture of research excellence;
  • Internationally influential, but South Africa and Africa focused;
  • A desire to work collaboratively on inter- and trans-disciplinary problems;
  • An appetite for multiple stakeholder engagement, research communication; and
  • Commitment to participate in all the activities of the fellowship.

All applicants have to provide a support letter by an academic referee (details are provided in the application form). Please ensure that the support letter is sent from an accredited institutional email address. The referee has to commit to be involved in future communications and mentorship in case of selection of the applicant into the programme. The referee will be informed about the progress of the fellow and should be willing to support the fellow if he or she requires it. All applications will be reviewed and shortlisted by representatives of the University of Pretoria and ASLP Management. The final selection of candidates will be made by the ASLP Management team.

Key dates:
14 & 15 October 2019 TYRLP training at Future Africa Campus

NB: Fellows will be required to attend from 9am - 5pm on both days. Please keep the evening of 14 October free when applying to the TYRLP 2019 Programme.