WORKSHOP HELPS VUT RESEARCHERS AND ACADEMICS PREPARE WINNING PROPOSALS
By: Qhawekazi Memani – 28 June 2023
VUT researchers and academics ,DIS delegates and the European Commission delegates at VUT Quest Conference Centre
On 21 June 2023, VUT researchers and academics alike – both eminent and emerging, gathered at the Quest Conference Centre in Vanderbijlpark for a Proposal Writing Workshop.
Hosted by the University’s Department of Internationalisation, the workshop was a partnership between the Department of Science and Innovation (DIS) and the European Commission (EC). The workshop’s primary goal was to develop an enabling environment for the South African National System of Innovation (NSI), including support mechanisms to aid access to opportunities in South Africa Governments SA-EU STI Corporation. The workshop also provided academics and innovators with a platform to learn more about the opportunities accessible through the SA-EU STI cooperation, how to access them, and how to prepare winning proposals.
In her opening remarks, Ms Tugela Matubatuba, the Director for Strategic Partnerships at DSI, who represents the directorate responsible for managing the SA-EU STI cooperation, addressed the need to enable capacity building within VUT. She highlighted that capacity building in historically disadvantaged institutions (HDIs) is a significant component within the SA-EU STI coorporation. “Statistics show the need to increase access to EU Funded Programmes opportunities by HDIs, through increased participation,” she said.
Dr Susanna Burger Burger, the Acting Director for Research at VUT delivered a detailed overview of the University’s research. The session also comprised of presentations by Dr Vincenzo Lorusso, Policy Officer: Science, Technology and Innovation cooperation with Africa and bilateral corporation with ASEAN countries; Dr Ahmed Maalel who is a Regional Representative for Africa – EURAXESS Worldwide and an online presentation by Dr Dalibor Drjaca also from EURAXESS. The workshop also included a practical segment on how researchers can get started with the EURAXESS portal, get to work with the funding and tenders’ opportunities portal, registration of the organizations on the portal, reading a call topic/ understanding the submission template and how they can search for partners.
Most notably, the platform served to ensure an inclusive participation in funding opportunities and other opportunities offered in the Africa Initiative II by the European Union. “The global space is challenged by many issues, innovation, corporations are then needed to solve all of the challenges effectively, said Dr Lorusso”. He added: “research and innovation should be in the forefront of sustainable development.
It was noted that VUT is currently not on the list of universities in Africa that are benefitting from the opportunities offered by EURAXESS but the delegates from the network shared that they hope that the next time they come back for more presentations, the institution will also be a beneficiary from the SA HE Grantee Institutions.
The workshop proved to be a success, where VUT researchers interacted immensely with DSI and the European Commission Union delegates and showed interest in the opportunities offered.
In closing, Mr Kungune, the Acting Director for Internationalisation as the facilitator of the workshop appreciated the enthusiasm displayed at the workshop by all parties particularly the appetite shown by VUT academics to partake in the discussed projects, initiatives and opportunities.