NRF-MUT Flagship on Climate Change

Proposal submitted to the National Research Foundation for Funding.

MUT has proposed an institution-wide Flagship on Climate Change where all faculties will be involved, namely, Natural Sciences, Engineering and Management Sciences in collaboration with industry, government and science councils.

The Flagship will focus on environmental stewardship, awareness and responsibility, sustainable and innovative solutions to environmental hardships, changes and challenges including climate change and its impact on health, food security, and energy security, enabling sustainability within a green economy.

The three faculties of the university will capitalise on their strengths and expertise to contribute to the Flagship as outlined below:

The Faculty of Management Sciences

This faculty will investigate the impact of climate change on human settlements, disaster management strategies and policies, communication and multilingualism, socio-economic factors, assessment of students and community attitudes towards climate change, assessment of community and student knowledge and understanding, evaluation of local municipality, provincial and national government readiness.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences

In order to mitigate against million’s of people dying of indoor and outdoor pollution, the predicted 250 000 deaths per annum caused by climate change between 2030-2050 (WHO, 2015), and the exacerbated spread of infectious diseases attributed to climate change (NYAS, 2015), the faculty of Natural Sciences aims to respond to the call to action by the World Health Organisation by undertaking operational and basic science research on the health risks associated with climate change including exposure to extreme weather conditions, the impact of and intervention on health and climate change. Community adaptation strategies will also be explored.

The Faculty of Engineering

Through the faculty of Engineering, the Climate Change Flagship will host renewable energy projects focusing on the reduction of South Africa’s carbon footprint encompassing deployment of Energy Efficiency and renewable energy strategies, Water and Waste Management, and Alternative Building Technologies. This will be done in collaboration with Rand Water, Umgeni Water, Eskom, University of Manchester, University of Nottingham and UKZN.

The projects will focus on the development and implementation of Energy Efficiency-based Energy Management System (EMS) strategies for KwaZulu-Natal public TVET colleges and Schools’ buildings, in order to reduce the total energy consumption, energy cost and carbon emissions. MUT’s key strategic research focus is on water and waste management encompassing grey water recycling for water efficiency, Separate Waste Collection Strategy, Resource Recovery from Solid Waste, and Alternative Building Technologies.

ARC-MUT-UniZulu Collaborative Centre on Climate Change in Agriculture

RIE is collaborating with UniZulu and the ARC to develop a triatie collaboration for a collaborative centre in Agriculture and Climate Change.

SA-MRC (South African Medical Research Council)-MUT Flagship on Non-Communicable Diseases

Targeting the abnormal MicroRNA and Splicing Signatures in HIV-associated cancers.