Gauteng Environmental Research Register
About: Environmental Research Register (ERR)
The Gauteng Environmental Research Register (ERR) was developed in the 2017/18 financial year to respond to the need to have a reporting tool on environmental research that is conducted in Gauteng Province. It was initiated by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment’s (GDARDE) Environmental Policy, Planning and Coordination Directorate.
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The primary objectives of the ERR have been modified to ensure relevance and can be summarised to be as follows:
• To continually update and maintain a database that can be used as a benchmark for researches conducted in Gauteng province to support government, research institutions, private sector and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs);
• To provide essential information to decision makers;
• To track information required by different statutory bodies and stakeholders;
• To provide annual progress reports to the provincial government departments regarding the number of environmental research projects undertaken;
• To ensure that the research data and reports are saved on the departmental server and accessible to all stakeholders; and
• To facilitate research collaboration between various research institutions and provincial government.
• To ensure that the data and reports are saved on the departmental server and or be hosted in a public domain to ensure easy access by the public and potential users.
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Milestones, among others include:
- The Environmental Research Register (ERR) studies are included in the South African Environmental Evidence Map developed by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DFFE). Capturing of the studies is in line with the DFFEs parameters.
- The information on the database is shared with climate change mitigation unit for extraction of information that helps them report to the National climate change database.
- The whole database has been peer reviewed, with UJ as the leader of the process of verifying each study that was contained in the 2022 approved report to check for relevance and whether it fitted within the set parameters. As a results over 50 were excluded from the database.
- The ERR is hosted on the UJ PEETS website. The page is live and accessible by the general public as it is a government institution hence promoting information sharing and creates opportunities for collaborations and partnerships.
- Development of the App that contains all the studies that are captured in the ERR.
- Approval of reports: The first annual report approved in March 2019; the updating and maintenance of the database then commenced after the first approved report, with the second annual report approved on the 20th of June 2020, the third annual report was approved on the 15th of February 2021, the fourth annual report was approved on the 23rd of March 2022.
- Policy relevance: The studies that are presented in the ERR have been classified according to their level of influence in terms of the various policy stages, these include: Diagnose & Assessment; Planning & Design; Implementation; and Evaluation.
- Online: Documents that could not be accessed without prior approval from the institutions have been downloaded and put in online sources to ensure that they have a link and can be accessed easily.
- Benefactor column added: The focus areas column has been replaced by the the field of study / benefactor column to clearly depict the target audience for the particular research work carried out.
How was the Environmental Research Register developed?
The processes of updating and maintaining the ERR included the following:
Data Collection: Various kinds of information (from research projects) were gathered from diverse sources including the three branches of government, private enterprises, academic and research institutions, NGOs, and international organisations that had conducted studies in Gauteng Province. The main method of collection involved online searches, also known as desktop research, although visits to certain institutional libraries, such as Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, were made to obtain information from their intranet. As a part of the data collection process, the goals and project descriptions were summarised by reviewing the research reports to provide a clear understanding of the study’s intended outcomes.
Data Management: Data and relevant records, such as research papers and links to the research studies were captured and stored during the register compilation process and have been saved on the GDARDE shared folder to enable access to interested stakeholders. This process is repeated annually.
Data Quality: The Research and Development unit is responsible for updating and maintaining the database. Data collection procedures and quality control measures to ensure data accuracy and integrity are being considered in the updating of the ERR. The latest version of the ERR underwent internal and external reviewing for comments and suggestions for improvement. Quality checking included verification of collected data and its relevance. The studies that didn’t fit within the defined parameters and scope of the database were removed as well as duplications that results from ongoing capturing of studies. Quality check process is continuous and applied as new information is being captured in the database on regular basis.
Data sharing outside the GDARDE: The annual ERR reports and supporting documents, which include manuals and annual reports, were disseminated to interested individuals, organisations, or institutions beyond GDARDE through meetings and forums. This helped to create awareness of the project, foster collaboration and partnerships with other research institutions, and minimise duplication in the future. These materials were also shared during various bilateral meetings and forums. The register was presented during the plenary session of the 2nd annual Gauteng Environmental Research symposium, which was held on October 16, 2020, in a webinar format and attended by a diverse range of researchers from academia, NGOs, and parastatals. To ensure a broader audience, UJ ACE, a public institution, is now the host of ERR based on a memorandum of agreement signed between GDARDE, UJ ACE, and UJ’s Process, Energy, and Environmental Technology Station in 2021. As part of the activities of the ERR, an Evidence Map was produced.
The ERR has also found its way to being an APP that can be downloaded and used from mobile gadgets and tablets amongst other small screens. Access the data on the newly developed app here. The legal aspects of putting the APP store on play store, i-Tunes stores etc. are still to be done through the department’s Legal service directorate.
The QR code for accessing the ERR APP is also available below and can be used on any device that has access to the QR code scanner:
In light of the above, it can be deduced that the ERR is a living document that presents environmental studies carried out in Gauteng Province from 2007 to date.
The Environmental Research Register Database is updated annually.
Please complete this form for any questions / compliments / suggestions.
The studies contained in the register are already in public domains, and are not necessarily the property of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) or the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment (GDARDE), but they have been included to improve ease of access.
The studies are not a full representation of all the research work conducted in the Gauteng province, however are studies captured given the time frame.