by Mosima Rafapa

A delegation from the Tshwane University of Technology, led by Dr Grace Kanakana-Katumba, Executive Dean at the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE), along with Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement, recently hosted colleagues from the Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) in the Netherlands, for talks on potential research collaboration and opportunities for student and staff exchange programmes. Their visit followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between TUT and THUAS in October 2023.

Five renewable energy experts from THUAS and the team from TUT discussed potential opportunities for Master's and Doctorate students to exchange knowledge and explore research collaboration on energy transition. The talks focused on several areas, including hydrogen energy, direct current energy systems, power electronics and electrical mobility, all of which were identified as key opportunities for collaboration.

Dr Kanakana-Katumba welcomed the idea of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), which will aid in the knowledge exchange amongst TUT and THUAS students. She said TUT was grateful for the relationship between FEBE and the Dutch, adding that FEBE has already benefited from this relationship by hosting Dutch students at the Electrical Engineering Department and receiving research funding to establish a centre for renewable energy.

She added, "We are excited to continue working together and trust our collaboration will be productive and successful.”

Dr Papu-Zamxaka said: “These discussions addressed the global need for clean and affordable energy. We are happy to be here with you to intensify our call for internationalisation. After we have signed an MoU, we must monitor them and check what we are achieving in bringing solutions to society’s current and future challenges. The one priority area that we need to intensify, is our postdoctoral portfolio and co-hosting postdoctoral students. We can explore guest lecturing, which can also be done virtually.”

FEBE Executive Dean Dr Grace Kanakana-Katumba, DVC for Research, Innovation, and Engagement Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, along with colleagues from FEBE and delegates from The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) in the Netherlands.

THUAS’ Strategic Advisor for International Partnerships, Sabine Amft, said they looked forward to the short-term goals agreed upon, which include a three-month student exchange in September for Honours and Master’s students to work on blueprinting infrastructure for THUAS’s lab engineering needs.

“The students will have a chance to work hands-on and bring a unique perspective to their research work, thus gaining valuable experience. Additionally, we will collaborate on short courses and the Long-term Europe-Africa WEF-Nexus Research Programme will be launched around April/May. The National Research Foundation is also calling for collaboration in areas related to climate adaptation and just energy transition, especially green energy,” concluded.

FEBE Executive Dean, Dr Grace Kanakana-Katumba engages with delegates from The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS) in the Netherlands.

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