This conference is taking place from 10 – 14 July 2017 at the ICC in Durban, South Africa.
Here are some of the highlights from Day 2:
The conference was opened by the Chair of Council, Justice Jerome Ngwenya. He welcomed everyone and emphasised that research, innovation and community engagement have shifted. He reminded us that MUT will claim its right place in the world.
Professor Zodwa Dlamini, DVC Research, Innovation and Engagements at MUT gave us an overview and progress of MUT RIE. He noted that they had started a university flagship on environmental sustainability. He reminded delegates that we need to contribute towards innovation and entrepreneurship.
Next up was Mr Simelane, the SRC President and Mr Mbonambi, the SRC General Secretary.
Mr Mbonambi remarked on how a trip to Dublin had helped him understand what free education is really about. He noted that there are challenges of unemployment and also lack of information for students. Mr Mbonambi went on to state that research and innovation can be used as a tool in driving the transformation of education.
Mr Simelane noted that he was not taught how to write a business plan; he was taught how to write a CV. He went on to state that research was foreign to him. ‘We have our own way of doing things in Africa, we need to be innovative,’ said Mr Simelane. His final point was that, ‘Technology, Science and Maths are key to developing ourselves.”
Dr Kerry Faul from the Department of Science and Technology gave us fascinating insight into the history of science and technology in South Africa from the 1990s to current day.
She noted that back in 1996, South Africa was looking to transform society. During the early years of the new millennium, buzzwords such as Nanotechnology and Biotechnology emerged. She went on to share that 42.3% of researchers are female.
Her advice for business owners was that we need to export more and we also need to improve funding.
Dr Faul posed the following question to us: ‘What are we going to do when our resources run out?’
She also told us about the 4th Industrial Revolution that was coming soon and it is certainly going to change the way we work.
Ms Phumla Ncapayi from Economic Development and Tourism and Environmental Affairs was up next and stated that we certainly needed partners like MUT.
The event not only featured a conference and workshops but also an exhibition which showcased scholars and innovators. Delegates are encouraged to interact with the exhibitors.
The final session of the day was a workshop on TISSUEFAXS Plus. This was presented by Alex Barang from TissueGnostics. He explained during his workshop that the TissueFAXS Cytometry platform can be used to investigate cell signalling networks controlling many cellular functions.
We asked some of the delegates what they thought of the conference so far. Here is what they had to say:
‘It was very informative and a lot is gained from the conference,’ said Ms Zikhali.
‘These conferences are very important with science and the innovation of South Africa,’ said Mr Zondi, a MUT lecturer.
It was encouraging to see the social media engagement on the conference.
Remember if you are at the conference share your insights on social media using the hashtag #MUTRIEWeek
Day 2 of the Conference ends with the Founders Dinner which honours the Founders and Alumni who established our distinguished institution. Honourable Prince MG Buthelezi will be in attendance as the Founding Father.
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