Research and innovation niche areas are specialised research areas within faculties. Their work is aimed at addressing institutional, provincial and national research and innovation priorities. Interdisciplinary work among Niche area research projects is encouraged, with researchers and students from the various faculties combining their expertise to solve complex research problems.
In her opening address, Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement, thanked the niche areas leaders. “This event wouldn’t have been possible without you. We are very proud of and applaud your exceptional work. We encourage you to continue cultivating university research to soar to greater heights. The Vice-Rectorate supports the development of research and innovation niche areas, especially those that are relevant to national and regional priorities and opportunities. Building on current capacity and capabilities of academic staff, is essential in promoting a sustainable research and innovation culture. In addition, we encourage our researchers to strategically align their niche areas to the national agenda.”
Dr Papu-Zamxaka emphasised that Niche Areas play an important role in evaluating Niche Area engagement with society and industry towards providing tangible researched solutions to challenges faced by our communities, industry and government. They also provide support to existing research platforms in priority areas in order to increase research contracts and grants annually, as well as facilitate the establishment of partnerships between researchers and external funders (industry / science councils / funding agencies/SETAs and government at large).
“Niche Area Leaders at TUT are encouraged to obtain external funding from donors, funding agencies, government departments and industry partners to fund research and innovation activities. We encourage national and international collaboration, since research and innovation activities in the Niche Areas attract national, continental and global partnerships, as they strive towards making a societal, economic, and environmental impact. As such, community engagement also forms an integral part of the Niche Area activities,” explained Dr Papu-Zamxaka.
The topics presented included:
- Climate Change and Disaster Management- Prof J Ndambuki
- Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D)- Dr EA Van Wyk
- Material Composites - Prof J Asante
- The Future of Work and the Alleviation of Unemployment and Poverty - Prof C Schultz
- Operations and Engineering Management - Dr JA Swanepoel
- Assessment for Learning - Prof A Kanjee
- Reconstruction of the Past and Crafting a New Multicultural South African Landscape through the Arts - Prof A Mason
- Advanced Catalysts Technologies – Dr L Moropeng-Mavhungu
- Applied Refrigeration and Thermal Energy Systems - Prof Z Huan
- Critical Studies in Visual Arts - Prof R De Lange
- Enterprise Development and Management Research in the BRIC’s Block - Prof E Rankhumise
- Sustainability Management Accounting and Finance - Prof H Klingelhöfe
- Information and Communication Technology for Business Enhancement (ICT4BE) - Dr TJ Lavhengwa
TUT Staff and students are encouraged to contact the Niche Area Leaders if they would like to join any of the Niche Areas. A Call for new Niche Areas is also advertised annually at TUT.
Please click here to access the Niche Area Forum.