VUT’S TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND INNOVATION EXPANDS ITS NETWORK FOR GREATER IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES
By: Selina Rapulane- 22 June 2023
Recently, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s Technology Transfer and Innovation (VUT TTI) hosted a delegation comprising of representatives from the Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) provincial government, Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and other KZN stakeholders for a networking session.
The aim of the session was to further discuss constructive plans to strengthen their network and improve the livelihoods of people in their communities.
The auspicious visit was coordinated by Mr Zacharia Moalahi, Manager Skills Department at VUT who first planted the seed of this collaboration when he visited Zululand as part of the stakeholders’ delegation embarking on a roadshow to present the GIP (Grassroot Innovation Programme), coordinated by TIA Bioprocessing Platform (KZN) in March this year. The aim of his visit was to expand VUT TTI’s network, connect and reach out to other colleagues within the TIA family. His visit was also about working towards formulating a relationship amongst them and collaborate through sharing knowledge, resources, and expertise, as well as enhancing technological innovation, skills development, and overall community welfare in the region.
The delegation was warmly welcomed by Dr Speech Nelana, the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) for Research Innovation Commercialization and Internationalisation at VUT. “It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this networking session. I am very encouraged to see a pleasing presence of individuals who are keen in addressing community challenges. I am looking forward to the presentations and I hope this is the second meeting of many more to come as we greatly support this ecosystem of change”, said Dr Nelana.
Mr Maemo Kobe, the Acting Executive Director and Commercialization Manager at TTI followed with a presentation on the overview and objective of the TTI. He was later joined by Mr David Mauchline, Team Leader: Applied Research and Collaboration to further explain VUT’s advanced manufacturing capabilities through the establishment of collaborations with researchers and institutions with a multitude of diverse competencies.
The delegation’s visit to VUT TTI was a follow up visit to discuss a way forward in cementing their collaboration and enable all the respective stakeholders in the TIA family to understand the needs of communities and identify opportunities where technology can make a meaningful difference. Their intention was to design initiatives that address community challenges, promote digital literacy, and empower individuals with practical skills that can enhance their livelihoods.
The two-day event comprised of extensive presentations from the individual companies that formed part of the delegation that is eager to make a significant and lasting impact in various communities. In their presentations, the representatives of each company explained and outlined how they were going to support and participate in this ecosystem of uplifting communities and empowering individuals, through befitting programmes, that will enhance their livelihoods.
With the use of its Technology Station’s expertise and experience, VUT TTI will be able to greatly contribute to the collaborative efforts and community outreach programmes, as well as be part of the collective efforts to foster innovation, collaboration, and community development. VUT’s valuable insights and active involvement did not only enrich the discussions, but also assisted the delegation to identify the most relevant and impactful projects.
“TIA-KZN had requested VUT TTI assistance on community upliftment programmes and the Idea to Product Lab Training (I2P) as well as the Centre for Footwear entrepreneurship (CoFE) training that we offer were cited as some of the key programs, as a result, there was a formulation of this collaboration. I am happy to see us moving forward with this commitment of changing lives through the skills we offer”, commented Mr Moalahi.
Day two of the programme took place at the TIA offices in Pretoria, to continue discussions of collaboration.