Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement.
Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka who heads Research, Innovation and Engagement at the University set the tone for the event as she delivered the opening and welcome remarks. “Words cannot explain how excited I am about this launch. Today, we are here to celebrate great work done by our Research Chair in Manufacturing and Skills Development led by Prof Khumbulani Mpofu.
“I always say, if you want to run fast, run alone. If you want to run far, run together. Thus, we have deliberately invited the CEO’s and executives of private sector companies to join us today. Your attendance is appreciated and we would like to invite you to strategically partner with us so we could advance the research agenda through an entrepreneurial approach to education, thus alleviate the high unemployment burden, inequality and poverty in our beautiful country. Colleagues, let us run together so that we run far. Let us chart the new territories together and take our country from glory to glory – With God it is possible,” said Dr Papu-Zamxaka.
She added: “This research chair is a true demonstration of great collaborative efforts between the University and industry to solve societal challenges, which include research to localise manufacturing technologies and the associated commercialisation of these technologies to resolve the high youth unemployment while solving the transport challenges of many South Africans.
Prof Khumbulani Mpofu.
Prof Lourens van Staden, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, commended Prof Mpofu and his team. “I must congratulate our Research Chair Holder, Prof Mpofu, for his tenacity, diligence and for always going over and above his call of duty. The University is proud to have a Research Professor of his caliber. An even more noteworthy development today is the launch of the three-year extension of the partnership to ensure the good work is continued. Through this partnership between Gibela, TUT and the other partners such as the NRF, merSETA, TIA, SEDA, DSBD there is hope not just for this country, but the continent and the globe at large. I congratulate all in this partnership and would like use this opportunity to salute everyone as well as emphasise that the journey to a social compact through manufacturing research, innovation and commercialisation has begun,” said Prof van Staden.
Prof Mpofu thanked the University for its staunch support leading up to the launch, while he also elaborated on future plans for the chair. “In the next three years of the MoU, the research chair plans to focus on the implementation and operationalisation of the University-Industry Technology transfer model through various established structures. One new idea will be industrialised every year, 15 publications annually, triple complimentary funding over the period, one doctoral and three masters graduates per annum, one new career path per year,” explained Prof Mpofu.
Nwabisa Ntiyane delivered a speech on behalf the Gibela Rail Consortium Board Chair, Ms Irene Charnley. She said: “We are excited about this partnership and also the launch of a research chair for the benefit of knowledge generation and entrepreneurial support in the rail manufacturing industry. Gibela is conscious of its role as a catalyst for economic development and the creation of new skills in partnership with its stakeholders, in particular TUT. This partnership deserves a huge celebration. The executives at Gibela have welcomed an intervention that seeks to define Technology Readiness Levels of university developed innovations from concept to commercialisation. Key areas have been identified in the value chain and in the coming three years a concerted effort will be invested in operationalisation of this ground-breaking approach to link university research and innovation efforts to real industry problems."