• Aug 17 2010

    NITheP Annual report 1 January - 31 December 2009

    Prof Frederik Scholtz

    Annual Report Introduction


    2009 was a crucial year in the establishment of the National Institute for Theoretical Physics (NITheP). Although the institute was officially launched on 13 May 2008, it only became fully functional at the end of 2008 / beginning of 2009 with the appointment of the director, researchers, administrative staff and post doctoral fellows. During 2009 all the governance and legal structures of NITheP had to be put in place, including the management committee, scientific advisory committee and the board. It also meant implementing the main agreement between the host institution (Stellenbosch University) and the NRF as well as the consortium agreement between the three participating institutions, Stellenbosch University, The University of Witwatersrand and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. I am happy to report that this process is virtually completed and reported on below. In parallel to he structuring process above, it was also vital that NITheP establishes itself as quickly as possible as an active, high quality research institution and a user facility that facilitates and stimulates research and training in Theoretical Physics throughout the country. On the research front, 2009 was extremely productive, keeping in mind the short time span researchers had to establish themselves and find cohesion. A highlight of the year was the appearance of two NITheP articles in the same issue of Physical Review Letters. A concerted effort was made during 2009 to lift the visibility of NITheP in the community and to establish a national network. This was done by establishing a strong corporative identity, the distribution of promotional material and presentations at more than 50% of the country's tertiary institutions. A very successful associate programme has led to the appointment of a network of more than 30 individual and institutional associates. A number of programmes to support associates and students were also launched in 2009. These include an impressive bursary programme (74 students), high profile visits, workshops, internships and several outreach activities. Overall 2009 was a year of rapid growth for NITheP. The next phase is to consolidate this growth and use the foundation laid in 2009 for the systematic and structured growth of NITheP also beyond South Africa's borders.

    Frederik Scholtz

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