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CSIR lauds first black female researcher at the organisation to receive doctorate in spatial statistics

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dr Sibusisiwe Khuluse-Makhanya has become the first black female researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to obtain a PhD in spatial statistics.

Her PhD, which is titled Spatial Statistical Modelling of Urban Particulate Matter, was conferred at a graduation ceremony at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

Contact Person

Tendani Tsedu

+12 841 3417

mtsedu@csir.co.za

Dr Sibusisiwe Khuluse-Makhanya has become the first black female researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to obtain a PhD in spatial statistics.

Her PhD, which is titled Spatial Statistical Modelling of Urban Particulate Matter, was conferred at a graduation ceremony at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

The study looked into developing a framework for mapping the risk of exposure to poor air quality. The focus was on statistical methods to deal with the challenges of combining data from multiple sources that differed in terms of quality and coverage over space and time.

Commenting on her achievement, Khuluse-Makhanya says, “I am ecstatic about completing my PhD. I am just at the beginning of my research career in statistics and I hope that my work will have a lasting impact.”

Khuluse-Makhanya hails from KwaMashu township in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) where she completed her primary and high school education. After matric, she went on to pursue her undergraduate studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. She had to work part-time at a bank and in retail to help fund her studies. Despite these challenges, she managed to complete her BSc honours degree in statistics before being appointed as a candidate statistician at the CSIR in Pretoria.

At the CSIR, Khuluse-Makhanya continued to further her studies on a part-time basis at the University of the Witwatersrand and later obtained a Master’s degree in statistics. She was also awarded a Mandela-Rhodes scholarship that enabled her to take a year off to attend postgraduate courses at Harvard University in the United States of America before registering for a PhD at University of Twente.

“The only thing that dampens my spirit about this PhD is that I cannot share this joy with my deceased parents,” says Khuluse-Makhanya.

CSIR‘s Competence Area Manager for Spatial Planning and Systems, Dr Pravesh Debba says that Khuluse-Makhanya’s research is important to the country.

“Statistics is a scarce skill world-wide, let alone South Africa. With the advances in big data, data science and the data revolution, statistics is only now being given the attention that it deserves and being recognised as one of the most important fields of science needed for any research,” he concludes.

ENDS

For more information, please contact Tendani Tsedu, CSIR Group Manager: Strategic Communication, on 012 841 3417/082 945 1980 or email: mtsedu@csir.co.za

About the CSIR:

The CSIR is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. Constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1945 as a science council, the CSIR undertakes directed and multidisciplinary research, technological innovation, as well as industrial and scientific development to improve the quality of life of all South Africans. For more information, please visit www.csir.co.za.