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Gauteng government reaches out to CSIR for possible future collaboration

Publication Date: 
Monday, May 9, 2016

The CSIR Knowledge Commons (KC) was abuzz with excitement as event organisers and researchers put the final touches to their exhibitions and presentations in anticipation of Premier David Makhura’s arrival on Friday, 6 May 2016. The Premier was accompanied by the MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, Gauteng province Director-General, Ms Phindile Baleni and the MEC for Health, Qedani Mahlangu. Mclean Sibanda, the CEO of the Innovation Hub and the Department of Science and Technology Director-General, Dr Phil Mjwara, were also in attendance.

Contact Person

Tendani Tsedu

+27 (0) 12 841 3417

mtsedu@csir.co.za

The CSIR Knowledge Commons (KC) was abuzz with excitement as event organisers and researchers put the final touches to their exhibitions and presentations in anticipation of Premier David Makhura’s arrival on Friday, 6 May 2016. The Premier was accompanied by the MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, Gauteng province Director-General, Ms Phindile Baleni and the MEC for Health, Qedani Mahlangu. Mclean Sibanda, the CEO of the Innovation Hub and the Department of Science and Technology Director-General, Dr Phil Mjwara, were also in attendance.

CSIR Group Executive: Strategic Alliances and Communication, Dr Rachel Chikwamba, served as programme director while the CEO, Dr Sibusiso Sibisi, welcomed the Premier and delivered a presentation about the organisation and its capabilities.

An exhibition showcasing the CSIR’s work in various disciplines was also on display at the KC. The showcase included diagnostic devices developed for improved healthcare, innovations in the defence and security environment, technology localisation and aerospace industry support.

“We are here to learn about the CSIR’s capabilities in research, development and innovation (RD&I) in areas such as information communications technology and renewable energy. We would like to always have the CSIR at the back of our minds when making investment and policy decisions so as to harness your capabilities in RD&I. Currently, we are working closely with Gauteng-based universities and we will be signing a memorandum of understanding later this month; but what we want is to not only strengthen the higher education sector, but to also support the human capital capabilities in institutions such as the CSIR,” said Premier Makhura.

The Premier toured the National Centre for Nano-structured materials, which was launched by the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, in 2015. The centre focuses on the modelling, synthesis, characterisation and fabrication of new and nano-structured materials with specific properties. Research and development at the nano-centre makes it possible to manufacture bulk materials with improved properties, such as plastics with greater tolerance to freezing or being able to withstand high temperatures.

The delegation also visited the Biomanufacturing Industry Development Centre, which will be officially launched this month. The centre will support the SMMEs in the development of bio-based manufacturing processes and products to meet customer needs within short time-frames and exploit market opportunities. The CSIR Photovoltaic plant was the final stop of the day. The plant consists of a total of 1 800 PV modules with a total surface of 3 493 m2. Power generated feeds directly into the CSIR’s campus grid; therefore no energy storage is needed. The facility has an expected life-time of at least 25 years. The solar power generated will equate to an annual carbon dioxide saving of approximately 1 200 tons, which will significantly reduce the CSIR’s carbon footprint. Overall, the Premier was very impressed with the level of expertise contained within the CSIR and expressed a need for further engagements. The MECs will revisit specific units within the CSIR to explore partnerships while Ms Baleni and Dr Mjwara will lead discussions and plans on future collaborations.