31 January 2022

TUT scoops new DBSA Research Chair in Infrastructure

The Tshwane University of Technology has received a major boost to its fast-growing research and innovation efforts with the announcement of a new Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) Research Chair in Infrastructure and an award grant of R629 050.00.

Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka.

Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, the DVC for Research, Innovation and Engagement indicated that an open competitive bid/call was made by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in March 2021 for the appointment of a tertiary institution to provide services on a partly planned and partly responsive basis, through an infrastructure research chair platform for a period of one (1) year with an option to extend for another year subject to satisfactory performance. “We participated as a University and we were selected the successful bidder amongst many universities. We are extremely excited but also conscious of the hard work that comes with attaining this chair,” explained Dr Papu-Zamxaka. 

Prof Olawale Popoola, who spearheads the Research Chair, mentioned that the role of Development Financial Institutes (DFI) similar to the DBSA is very central to the growth and development of any country, especially in relation to the development, operation, and maintenance of infrastructure. One of the main characteristics of such an institution is about playing a countercyclical role, which includes the agility to be developmental as well as responsive to crises. 

Prof Olawale Popoola.

Furthermore, providing background to DBSA’s national agenda, Prof Olawale said: “DBSA has been to discern between the Bank’s projects and contribution to the sustainable development principles as envisaged in the various national and transnational strategic documents (e.g. NDP, SDGs etc), including advancing regional as well as continental integration.  To achieve these, DBSA seeks to institute an infrastructure research chair at the university while keeping ahead of developments through research and conversation”.

According to Prof Popoola, the Chair’s objectives include:

  • To develop in-depth infrastructure research papers on topics determined by the DBSA across the infrastructure development value chain i.e. primary (e.g. Information and Communications Technology, Transport, Energy) and secondary sectors (Education, Health etc). 
  • To develop ad hoc short-term research papers on emerging issues in the infrastructure development value chain. 
  • To provide peer review on internal DBSA research papers.
  • To participate in conversations organized by the DBSA on infrastructure development.  

Furthermore, the chair requires research expertise, report writing as well as presentation skills on infrastructure, DFIs, the research pool cannot be complete without the participation of students. Additionally, the grant will make provision for junior researchers where postgraduate students fall under - this is to enhance significant capacity development, especially in the digital economy.

The grant is expected to deepen and bring about extensive networks in the infrastructure environment. Activities amongst others include analyses of the infrastructure sector, gaps, and opportunities in development finance, various mandated sectors policy frameworks, the impact on the Bank etc.

Prof Popoola will be working with an esteemed group of skilled researchers notably Dr Mulatu Zerihun Mulatu, Dr Harris Maduku, Prof WK Kupolati and Prof Josiah Munda in line with the deliverables as earmarked by DBSA.

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