The grant recipient, Dr Thandi Mgwebi, DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement.
The grant recipient, Dr Thandi Mgwebi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement expressed her appreciation for DSI and the CSIR’s support and confidence. “TUT’s success in securing this funding re-enforces its strategic direction as a new generation, people’s university with an entrepreneurial spirit. It is in line with our efforts for impactful engagement with the communities in which we are located,” she said.
Dr Mgwebi added that the increasing need to demonstrate societal value and return on investment for research and public funding has put pressure on higher education institutions to participate as active members of their communities. In addition, the multifaceted needs of cities and the intricate web of networks between universities and communities exacerbate this pressure. “In the context of the knowledge economy, universities are well positioned to play a role in improving the economic and social status of cities where they are located,” she explained.
Furthermore, mechanisms to enhance connections between university research and industrial innovation in South Africa, are actively driven by government policies and strategies. One of these strategies is the DST’s Technology Localisation Plan, which is an overarching and generic framework for DST's engagement in national technology localisation initiatives. As such, TUT will lead the Regional Innovation Platform titled: “Pretoria North Regional Innovation Networking Platform (PNRIP)”.
The University’s Technology Transfer Office will champion the PNRIP, which is expected to connect significantly with industry, business and civil society towards improving the life of South Africans. “Coupled with our focused entrepreneurial drive, increasing international engagement and digital advancement strategy, the PNRIP will facilitate knowledge translation and transfer, in partnership with our stakeholder communities. It will also reinforce the role of TUT in the surrounding community, in line with our industry engagement approach and the new TUT strategy, “she concluded.