19 November 2021

TUT and CSIR strategic partnership to address 4IR trends

The Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in support of the emerging trends due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The partnership will focus on collaboratively building cybersecurity and data science capabilities and capacity. It is aimed at promoting local innovation, economic growth, job creation, as well as the safety and security of all South Africans.

Professor Joey Jansen van Vuuren, HoD at the Department of Computer Science.

The main pillars of this strategic partnership are underpinned by:

  • Research and innovation
  • Technology development
  • Community outreach
  • Technology commercialization
  • Human capital development.

Professor Joey Jansen van Vuuren, HoD at the Department of Computer Science initiated this collaboration with the CSIR. Her concern with the research and implementation of cybersecurity in South Africa and the inability of tertiary institutions to quickly adjust to emerging 4IR trends lead to her initiating the partnership. ”This is important, especially because these trends bring about an unprecedented digital transformation with multifaceted benefits, such as sustainable economic growth, job creation, and social development,” she said.

The strategic partnership between TUT’s Faculty of ICT and the CSIR will include the establishment of a Centre of Excellence that will focus on developing research, technical, and commercial capacity for cybersecurity in 4IR. It will also include the securing of systems in the broadcasting world, as well as the development of smart agriculture solutions that make use of data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

The intention of the centre is furthermore, to drive impactful research and innovation, supporting Master and Doctoral students through directed coaching and mentoring of their research, supporting technology innovation projects for post graduate diploma students, hosting of youth-aligned human capital development initiatives such as cybersecurity hackathons, targeted bootcamps and vacation programmes, and cybersecurity ‘capture the flag’-exercises.

The MoA between TUT and the CSIR was signed at the CSIR Conference Centre in October 2021.  

Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation & Engagement.

In her address, Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation & Engagement and one of the signatories, emphasised the importance of industry partnerships. She said: “The Institute for the Future of Work seeks to institutionalise this, hoping for private sector investment in the initiative designed for mutual benefit. TUT also seeks partnerships that can help to expand the demonstration and testing platform focusing on IoT technologies. Partnerships can support impactful research and development projects, technology transfer, specific skills development programmes and incubation supporting the development of students and industries in South Africa”

Dr Jabu Mtsweni, the Head of the CSIR’s Information and Cyber Security Centre, indicated that the collaboration between TUT and the CSIR is strategic and unique, especially because the CSIR and the University share many values including similar statements in their missions. 

The new relationship provides for both organisations to contribute in building human capital, supervision capacity, transformative research and development, and home-grown solutions in the cybersecurity domain”. Mtsweni said. He added that the collaboration between the CSIR and TUT is unique because they share resources that have a better understanding of both the CSIR and TUT business model.

Dr Motodi Maserumule, CSIR Divisional Group Executive: Mining, Manufacturing, Defense and Security, said since the inception of the CSIR 76 years ago, collaboration has always been part of the DNA of the CSIR. 

He added: “Collaboration is who we are, and we always collaborate with outstanding institutions. The CSIR will take this collaboration opportunity with both hands and make it a success for the socio-economic transformation of the country. We expect a lot of R&D outputs from this collaboration, but also development of new SMMEs in the cybersecurity domain.”

Dr Etienne van Wyk, Executive Dean: Faculty of Information and Communication Technology.

Dr Etienne van Wyk, Executive Dean: Faculty of Information and Communication Technology and Interim Campus Rector: Soshanguve Campus, concluded the proceedings saying: “This MoA is the start of a partnership between TUT and the CSIR that will contribute to impactful research and development projects in cybersecurity.  We will prioritise the development of students in the field of cybersecurity to increase the cybersecurity workforce in South Africa. The MoA can also be extended to include other important focus areas of importance in future. From the Faculty’s side I wish to thank the CSIR for partnering with us. Through this collaboration agreement, we intend to work together on a number of innovative projects. In terms of this, I would like to thank the CSIR for the current supervision support to our postgraduate students.”

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711  Email: tshisikhawerpt@tut.ac.za