Conference Committee

Speaker 1

Prof. Manoj Maharaj

Manoj Maharaj has a PhD in Applied Mathematics and is employed at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he teaches information systems, specializing in information systems strategy and information security. He has consulted widely in the IT industry and presented many successful workshops on topics ranging from IT Auditing, IT strategy, Information Security, Risk Management and others. He currently serves as non-executive Director on the Board of the Moses Kotane Institute where he chairs the Audit and Risk Committee and on the Board of NEMISA. Both SOEs are tasked with national skills development in the STEM space.

Prof. Maharaj’s early research was in General Relativity, specializing in Numerical Relativity. He was part of the National Science Foundation Grand Challenge on Gravitational wave research which has yielded significant results applicable to the ongoing discovery and interpretation of gravitational radiation. His current research interests include ICT4D, information security, strategic information management and enterprise risk management. Manoj has thus far supervised 21 PhD, 14 Masters and 21 MBA students. He has numerous publications that reflect his diverse interests.

He has been employed at the University of KwaZulu-Natal for the past 30 years, where he is now Professor of Information Systems and Technology. He has served the University as Head of School (IST), Executive Director (IST), and as a member of the University Senate and Council.

Speaker 1

Dr. Lucienne Abrahams

Luci Abrahams is Director of the LINK Centre, a university-based research centre located at the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct (Wits University). She has led the Centre since 2002, focused on ‘digital transitions in economy and society’, including attention to digital innovation and digital transformation in institutions and economic sectors. She takes an interdisciplinary, creative strategy approach and is knowledgeable in digital strategy design, digital innovation and leadership, emerging smart cities, cybersecurity resilience design, transition to digital government, building knowledge-intensive organisations, intellectual property rights and knowledge governance, ICT policy and regulation.

Luci has led or participated in a number of strategy design projects and made public presentations, including on the digital skills gap analysis (DTPS), digital government strategy (GITOC), digital knowledge economy (Northern Cape Department of Economic Development), and e-government monitoring and evaluation (GPG). She designs new courses for industry and government, and teaches global trends in digital innovation, digital strategy formulation, innovation theory and digital transformation. In parallel to her university-based work, Luci has had a public service career.

She served on the Ministerial Review Panel for the Science, Technology and Innovation Institutional Landscape (2015-2017); and has served on many public sector boards and committees. Luci holds a BSc Chemistry (UCT), a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Policy and Development Administration (Wits) and a PhD (Wits).

Speaker 1

Dr. Upasana Singh

Dr Upasana Singh is a lecturer in the Discipline of Information Systems and Technology at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Westville Campus, in Durban South Africa. She has a keen interest in Technology in Education and Sustainable IT practices. Her PhD was on electronic assessment for which she developed and evaluated an online interactive tool to evaluate e-assessment systems, named e-SEAT. She successfully implemented the first formative e-assessment in the School of MIG at UKZN in 2014. In 2014, she received 2 research awards, one from the NRF and the other from UKZN, CLMS Teaching and Learning Unit. She served as panel reviewer for the NRFs Joint Collaboration applications in 2015 and 2016.

Joint academic collaboration is one of her fortes having secured 3 MoUs with international universities. This has provided her with the platform to share her knowledge as invited guest speaker to local and international conferences in South Africa, India and Mauritius in 2015, 2017 and 2018. She expanded this collaboration interest by volunteering as local conference co-ordinator for the 3rd IEEE ICACCE conference, held in Durban in 2016; e-MIG 2017 Conference in Mauritius in 2017; a committee member for the AAE Summer School in France 2017; Program Chair for IFCTN held by Chandigarh University, in partnership with UKZN in 2018, and the 1st IEEE icABCD conference to be held in Durban in 2018. In 2017 she was selected to participate in the “Joint Expertise Programme” at Chemnitz Technical University in Germany; and selected to represent UKZN at MoodleMoot Australia in Sydney.

She also has a keen interest in joint curriculum development with International Higher Education Institutions. In 2018 she was nominated on a 2 year training program in “Teaching Advancement in Universities” (TAU).

Speaker 1

Prof. Nirmala Gopal

Prof. Nirmala Gopal is a criminologist in the Programme of Criminology and Forensic Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Among her foci of research is ‘hidden’ and vulnerable communities as victims of crime, social injustices and discrimination with the aim of promoting justice and fairness for unequal groups in society. She has completed research in school based violence in disadvantaged communities. Her current research study is on understanding how the biological, psychological and social domains of individuals’ lives interact to produce chronic illicit drug users or ‘addicts’.

Prof. Gopal an NRF rated researcher has multiple publications in peer reviewed national and international journals. She has engaged in collaborative teaching with the Lulea University of Technology in Sweden between 2010 and 2015. She has presented her scientific results in many national and international conferences both as an invited speaker and as a conference delegate. Her latest research interest is cybercrime which she has showcased in a special peer reviewed journal that is due to be released in November 2018. She has 32 years of teaching experience across the basic and higher education sectors in South Africa. Between the period 2010 and 2018 she headed the ETDP Higher Education and Research chamber. Amongst the many committees that she is a member of is the university of KwaZulu Natal Council.

She has recently edited a Special Edition of Acta Criminologica a Southern African journal on Cybercrime. Some of the articles showcased debates on: Cybercrime, cybersurveillance and state surveillance in South Africa, Cybercrime, politics and their significance in the internationalisation of policing : perspectives of academics and practitioners, the Cybersecurity Dilemma : considerations for investigations in the Dark Web, Public perceptions of cybersecurity : a South African context, On-line/off-line interactions : social media and vulnerability to cyberbullying in a Cape Town case study and Contextualising social engineering through criminological theorising. In addition, she has concluded a national study entitled: Cybercrime – Risks to South Africa. She has a keen interest in the field of cybercrime/security especially through a human lens.

Speaker 1

Dr. Kriyanka Moodley

Dr Kriyanka Moodley was exposed to information systems, specializing in information systems strategy and information security through her mentorship with Prof Manoj Maharaj. She holds a PhD in Leadership from the Graduate School of Business and Leadership, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Her doctoral research looked at our economic reality which is rooted in a global eco-system of cultural, ecological, social and political contexts, interwoven and grown in uncertain, multifaceted, and unpredictable ways. These situations require a mindset on the part of change agents, leaders and individuals that is more open and focused on emerging changes. Her thesis showed that decision-makers in all institutions and systems need to go on a collective journey from seeing only their own viewpoint (ego-system awareness), to experiencing the system from the perspectives of others in the system (eco-system awareness). Bridging the gap between eco-system awareness and ego-system awareness can be identified as the main challenge of leadership today.

Her professional interests include academia, marketing, leadership, technology and innovation and social development. Her academic and commercial work continue to give her local and international exposure.