Pushing the envelope: Dr Olaf Conrad, head of the National Hydrogen Catalysis Competence Centre at UCT, in discussion with Minister of Science & Technology Naledi Pandor during her visit to UCT.
Through its agencies, the national Department of Science & Technology has been a generous supporter of UCT over the years.
"It is incumbent on UCT to demonstrate that this funding and show of confidence has been put to good use," explained vice-chancellor Dr Max Price. So on 17 October, Price and other university executives, deans and researchers offered Minister Naledi Pandor a thumbnail review of UCT's science and technology ambitions and infrastructure.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor for research, Professor Danie Visser, spoke on UCT's research drives, and the support programmes the university runs for its senior and up-and-coming academics. Professor Francis Petersen, dean of the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment, spoke on innovation at UCT and how researchers are addressing developmental concerns through their work.
Professor Anton le Roex, dean of the Faculty of Science, highlighted the kinds of cutting-edge research in structural biology and nano-imaging that will be conducted in the new engineering building currently under construction on upper campus. And Pandor toured the facilities of Dr Olaf Conrad's Hydrogen South Africa Catalysis Competence Centre, Professor Kelly Chibale's new Drug Discovery & Development Centre and the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine.
"I think the visit went very well," said Price. "I think the Minister left the campus with some excitement about the discoveries our researchers are making, and our research ambitions; and a new appreciation for what research at UCT has to offer to social and economic development in the country, the continent and the rest of the world."
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