Strengthening ties through Research collaboration
Eskom, one of South Africa’s largest consumer of water, is guaranteed water supply from the government, however problem is that the water is not ready for use. The water still has to undergo vigorous forms of treatment before it is fit for industrial consumption and use. As an institution of higher learning, leading in cutting edge technology, Eskom then approached the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) with the intention of bringing synergy between applied and fundamental research into finding ways of collaborating in specific projects. This offered VUT the opportunity to showcase our research strengths as several niche research areas were identified such as Water Purification, Biotechnology, Microbiology, Waste Management and Energy. Large posters detailing more information on the various niche research areas were erected in the foyer that added to the subject matter.
The Eskom/VUT research workshop was held on 11 May 2012 at VUT, offered each party an opportunity to make presentations on its current research projects that will show how the collaboration efforts have succeeded to date. The workshop reiterated the importance of the strategic role of VUT to serve the research needs for industrial partners such as Eskom. Some of the topics under discussion covered the spectrum of topics such as:
a. Natural Organic Matter and its impact on power station water: Presented by Mr. G Gericke – Eskom
b. Qualifying and quantifying organics and their impact on the acid cation conductivity (KHI) in the cycle water of a power plant : Presented by Mr. K. Pule – Eskom
c. Industrial Microbiology: Presented by Mr K Reynolds-Clausen
d. The Wetlands Project: Presented by Ms K Durgapersad – Eskom
e. Present Chemistry Projects: Prof. MJ Moloto – VUT
f. Biotechnology Projects: Presented by Prof. T Padayachee - VUT
g. Research in Electrical Engineering: Presented by Dr. W Salim - VUT
h. Technology Transfer & Innovation: Presented by Prof D de Beer & Staff - VUT
Prof Louw: Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic & Research said that technology represents a higher order of creating new knowledge, therefore we, as a university of technology, our academic mandate is to train people on how to develop appropriate and real solutions through research, thus creating new knowledge.
Mr. Gerhard Gericke: Eskom Delegates Leader explained that Eskom plays a role in the development of human capital. The sharing of knowledge then becomes a mutually beneficial partnership for industry and VUT to assist in the creation of new knowledge stemming from research that will ultimately be siphoned to the relevant communities that will benefit from research that matters.
Several other speakers, including researchers from both parties, presented their research findings and ultimately the research collaboration will be strengthened following further projects that will be identified for future research proposals.
This project has already attracted 730 Phd candidates and 413 supervisors associated themselves with this programme. The programme offering will lead to the stimulation of a solid, fundamental research culture.
“Thank you for taking up the opportunity to nature the research genius in you.”
Vaal University of Technology's and Eskom's exhibition boards that were displayed during the presentations and discussions.
This article was written by: Anne Naidu
Communications Practitioner/Editor Corporate Communications
Tel: +27 (0) 16 950 9729
Pictures: Mandla Mtombeni