First Female Professor in the Department of Information Systems

2 Feb 2016 - 12:15

Making the historic announcement, HoD Professor Kevin Johnston said, “The Department of Information Systems is extremely pleased and proud of the promotion of Ulrike Rivett to full Professor. Ulrike has made a difference to the department and to the faculty, to staff and students, is dedicated, hardworking, inspirational and motivational.”


He added that her dynamic leadership of the iCOMMS research team, as well as chairing the Faculty Ethics Committee and serving as a member of Council, underlined her commitment to promoting UCT as a research-led university.


Her journey to professorship began in Germany when she graduated with a Dipl.-Ing.univ in Land Surveying from the Technische Universität München, in 1994.  She then received a scholarship for her PhD studies in the Department of Geomatics at the University of Cape Town with the theme Development of an Integrated Information System for Archaeological Heritage Documentation.


On graduation she was employed in the Department of Civil Engineering at UCT and over the last decade her research has focused on the application and use of ICTs (Information Communication Technologies) to support the delivery of basic amenities and services to under-resourced communities.


Her contribution over the last decade has been to “connect the dots” between the knowledge of specialists and the creation of a solution that offers an innovative approach to existing problems. Her focus has been on providing under-resourced communities in rural areas with basic services such as water and sanitation.


By introducing ICTs in seemingly unrelated fields - such as the health, service delivery and water sectors – she has been able to develop technologies that cross the conventional boundaries of knowledge, decision making and stakeholder engagement.


Today she leads the iCOMMS research team, which focuses on understanding the use of ICT systems for the benefit of society by engaging proactively with government, municipalities and rural communities through implementing research findings and increasing impact beyond the academic boundary.


With more than 50 publications to her credit, her curriculum vitae also gives insight into her excellence. They include the following:


•              2015: Award: WRC Research Award for the Empowerment of Communities

•              2007: Impolelo Award for technological Innovation Cell-Life

•              2006 Nokia Mobility Award, Finalist

•              2005 & 2006 TT100: Top Technology 100; Cell-Life Winner in the Category: Most Noteworthy Achiever

•              2005 Women in Science and Technology, Runner Up in the Category: Best Emerging Woman Scientist


Prof Rivett was delighted at achieving her professorship, saying: “It is a real honour to be bestowed with the title of Professor, but I am very aware that this was only possible thanks to many colleagues who shared their wisdom and gave guidance to me and the students who worked hard and contributed to the overall success of our research.”