Collaboration discussions furthered

07 June 2004

Meeting of minds: UCT's Prof Mike Inggs (far left) and Prof Cheryl de la Rey (third from left) with representatives from the CSIR at the recent meeting.

UCT's spanking new chemical engineering building was host to representatives of the CSIR who met with over 60 UCT researchers on May 31 to identify and discuss collaborative research and areas of potential overlap.

This followed a meeting in February when UCT, represented by DVC Professor Cheryl de la Rey, and the CSIR, represented by CEO Sibusiso Sibisu, signed a memorandum of understanding. This paved the way for enhanced collaboration focusing on development, training, technology transfer and the dissemination of knowledge.

In addition to De la Rey and Sibis, the steering committee appointed in February also includes Profs Daya Reddy and Cyril O'Connor, CSIR president Dr Anthos Yannakou, and Tina Eboka, CSIR vice-president (organisational development and communications). The group will oversee the progress and success of the memorandum in each area of interest.

The agreement, which will remain binding for two years initially, provides a basis for negotiating possible research projects and collaborations in these fields. Both parties agreed to investigate collaborations in areas such as information and communication technology (ICT), energy, environmental science, and human resource development. The agreement also included the provision of bursaries to candidates from both institutions.

Last week the groups met in breakaway sessions to discuss potential collaboration in the areas of the environment, energy, ICT, satellite applications, computational fluid dynamics, remote sensing, the built environment, new materials and engineering, nano technology, biotechnology, traditional medicines and chemical processing technology.

The afternoon sessions were devoted to discussion around intellectual property, academic enterprises, research centres, student issues, funding, joint appointments and use of facilities as well as potential collaborations in the area of social sciences, for example, poverty alleviation.

CSIR/UCT bursary programme

In 2003 UCT and the CSIR signed a memorandum of agreement that established and formalised the jointly-funded UCT/CSIR Scholarship Programme, aimed at identifying and supporting students keen to study in the area of biotechnology. The full-cost scholarships are available for honours, master's and doctoral students. The programme enables students to collaborate with academics and scientists at the CSIR. They are also expected to work at this institution, either as employees or researchers, where such appointments are available. The first cohort of students this year consists of three honours students in material science and chemistry, four master's students in molecular and cell biology, chemistry and materials engineering, and two doctoral students in chemistry. It is envisaged that a mentorship programme will be developed to support scholarship holders.

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