University of Pretoria (UP)’s Vice Principal for Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Education, Professor Sunil Maharaj, continues to fly the institution’s flag high internationally.
He became the first African to have an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy conferred on him by Malmö University’s Faculty of Technology and Society in Sweden.
Malmö University promotes Honorary Doctors who are often academics at other universities as they sometimes have achieved academic excellence outside of the world of academia.
Their deeds have demonstrated high levels of scientific research and have inspired the university to reward them with the prestigious honour. Prof Maharaj has been recognised internationally for his pioneering and innovative work in 5G and rural broadband communications, particularly research contributions on reliable communication technology in hard-to-reach areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
“I am indeed honoured and humbled as the first person from Africa to have an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy for Meaningful and Lasting Contributions conferred on him by Malmö University of Technology and Society,” said Maharaj said.
“Through the South Africa Sweden University Forum network, UP has been collaborating with other universities in Sweden since 2018 and in particular with Malmö University. Through my interaction with their Vice Chancellor and my counterpart, we have discussed opportunities to further build on the collaboration in various areas and strengthen the North-South partnership.”
Maharaj received a hat, laurel wreath and a ring as symbolic attributes during the ceremony. He was also handed a diploma certificate, as written proof of the conferment, which will live on as a memory of the academic celebration.
“I have been collaborating with Professor Reza Malekian at Malmö University for many years ever since he was at UP and even when he left UP to join Malmö University,” Maharaj said.
“We have jointly published together, worked on industry projects, supervised postgraduate and postdoctoral fellows and published a book and book chapters together. When I organised international conferences here at UP, like IEEE Wireless Africa and IEEE 5G Summit, I invited him to be the Technical Programme Chairperson, also on Technical Committees, hence we have had his collaboration for many years.”
Maharaj received the honourable appointment alongside Prof Sarah Pink from Monash University in Australia during a special year as Malmö University is celebrating 75 years as a university and five years of having been accorded research university status in Sweden.
Dean at the Faculty of Technology and Society, Malmö University, Prof Andreas Jacobsson, said he was proud and happy to welcome both Maharaj and Pink to the university.
Jacobsson said Maharaj collaborated in various research projects at Malmö University for the past five years. He said Maharaj showcased over 30 years of academia and industry of research experience, which resulted in successful cutting-edge research, and that he hoped that through this award, they could strengthen the collaboration between UP and Malmö University because there has been a long, strong and educational partnership between Sweden and South Africa over the years.