YEBO Final Conference review and documents



Through possibilities of today to challenges of the future

YEBO! Final Conference has just come to an end, but there is still a life-memory of engaged and motivated actions towards internationalization and modernization of the PhD. The conference had a great success, hosting around 340 online attendees over three days. The excitement and engagement of the participants grew with each day as everyone had chance to take part in virtual World Cafes and discuss in more depth topics presented by the speakers and panelists of the conference.

The format of the conference allowed to have a concentrated presentations and panel discussions in the morning, topical presentations in the middle of the day that were directly followed by engaging virtual World Café sessions, where previous topics where delved into deeper reflections. Such format lasted during the first two days giving participants a chance for inspiring and engaging collaboration and discussions on these topics. The last day of the conference was dedicated to the 3MT-presentation and Poster competitions where the groundbreaking research of PhD students from YEBO! partner institutions where presented and evaluated by international jury members.

As such inspiring and involving conference cannot be finished just by such description, lets delve deeper and refresh our memories on each day!

In the morning of the first day, the focus lied on the background of internationalization. After a presentation of the policy framework and the opportunities that it provides for South African universities, we discussed challenges and ambitions for South Africa in terms of internationalization of higher education institutions. The internationalization topic was briefly alternated during the day by modernization of the PhD, where four topics were presented and discussed.

During the first presentation on “Sharing mentorship responsibilities”, the focus lied on challenges within the differences in the PhD supervision cultures, importance of long-term institutional support and the aspects of bridging power-imbalances in the international academia. The second presentation discussed the “Impact of COVID-19 and an increasing digital world”, lifting reduced mobility, reduced funding and enhanced digitalization as the main impacts of COVID-19 on doctoral education. The third presentation focused on “Internationalisation in the 21st Century”, lifting the systems thinking approach and action research as a big part of interdisciplinarity and underlining the current lack of strong disciplinary competence. The fourth and final presentation “Supervision training and support” focused on challenges in supervision, expectations and advises on “good” doctoral supervision.

The presentations were followed by the World Café activity, where the attendees of the conference together with speakers and panelists were able to discuss these topics, sharing their knowledge, challenges, experiences, observations and good practices in the respective area.

Speaker’s presentations DAY 1:

Mahlubi Mabizela - Challenges and ambitions for South Africa (political framework).pdf 

Fiorella Perotto - EU perspective on internationalisation in Higher Education.pdf

Moeketsi Letseka - Internationalisation Challenges and ambitions for South Africa .pdf

Nadine Appelhans - Sharing Mentorship Responsibilities.pdf

Alexander Hasgall - Impact of COVID-19 and digitalization.pdf

Stefano Farolfi - Interdisciplinarity in the 21st century.pdf 

Gunda Huskobla - Supervision Training and Support.pdf

Watch the replay of YEBO Final Conference DAY 1

The second day started with topical discussions on PhD supervision. During the first presentation on “Evaluation and improvement of supervision” the conclusions followed the need of training for supervisors with transferrable documentation or accreditation; need to recognize cultural diversity between doctoral candidates and supervisors and work integrally towards more free exchange on the issues arising between supervisors and doctoral candidates. The second presentation discussed “Training opportunities and activities for supervisors” that gave practical insights on good-supervision practices and encouraged for creative and collaborative ways of finding own supervision style that fits own and doctoral student’s needs. The third presentation focused on “Supervision v. Mentorship”, where the overlap of both was lifted and excellent examples where given on how to balance supervision and mentorship and how it benefits both supervisor and doctoral student. The last presentation discussed “Managing relationships and specific dynamics arising”, discussing the internationalization and its challenges & opportunities within legislation, administration & government, mobility, financing, supervision and digitization.

The day ended by the keynote, “addressing the local problem with global significance” and lifting the idea that even with current limited resources and new normal world with COVID-19 interference and after, there is yet unlimited opportunities with local and global interactions, multi-,inter- & transdisciplinary research as well as quadruple networks.

Speaker’s presentations DAY 2:

Edwin Constable - Evaluation and improvement of supervision.pdf

Gaelle Ramon - Training opportunities for supervisors.pdf

Mario Smith - Managing relationships.pdf

Laetus Lategan - Addressing the local problem with global significance.pdf

Watch the replay of YEBO Final Conference DAY 2

Third and last day of the YEBO! conference was focused on South-African doctoral students, giving them the chance to present their scientific research in the format of 3MT (3 minutes thesis) presentations and poster competitions. In total there were seven doctoral students pitching their presentations and three finalists presenting their posters. After intense jury deliberations, three winners from each competition category were announced and awarded.

Scientific Posters:

Duane Booysen - The feasibility of implementing and disseminating prolonged exposure therapy for survivors of trauma in South Africa a mixed methods study.pdf

Gerhard Basson - The contribution of the antioxidant capacity to drought tolerance in Medicargo sativa (Lucerne).pdf

Kentse Mpolokeng - The different positions of orientation of the ophthalmic artery in relation to the optic nerve.pdf

Mandilakhe Naku - The effect of drought on nutrient acquisition in two contrasting cowpea accession.pdf

Mercy Kileo - A review on refugee students in higher education.pdf

Prosper Sotenga - A Model for Estimating IoT Gateway Media Access Control Virtualisation Delays.pdf

Watch the replay of YEBO Final Conference DAY 3

As the final YEBO! Conference manifests the end of the project and summarizes the milestones achieved during the project lifespan; there was an expressed wish for YEBO continuation during the closing ceremony. However, one thing remains certain – even though YEBO! Project is over, the importance of PhD internationalization and modernization and knowledge gained will continue to be discussed and improved by all the partners in the network.