Extensive research in the pipeline for MUT as it acquires a part of the MRC building

Press release statement: For immediate release

Submitted by Bheki Hlophe, Media Relations & Publications Officer

Via email: hlophe@mut.ac.za

Extensive research in the pipeline for MUT as it acquires a part of the MRC building

Prof Zodwa Dlamini, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Engagements at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has spearheaded the establishment of a research intensive campus for MUT which will be based at the current location of the SA-MRC on Ridge road in Durban. MUT has just acquired a part of this building which will house MUT’s top researchers in multi-disciplinary fields.

“When I joined MUT, I realised that the institution did not have top notch equipment which should enable MUT research and innovation to move to another level. My first preoccupation was to knock on relevant doors that could take this great ambition forward. Fortunately for me, I had good networks with the SA-MRC and our proposal was received favourably. I am grateful to MUT Council for enabling this ambition to be fulfilled”, said Professor Dlamini. “This is a huge milestone to have successfully secured this laboratory space as it will host the MUT Multidisciplinary Research Institute (M-MRI)

Prof Senzo Malinga, the Director of the University’s Centre for the Development of Green Technology (CDGT), has said the building, among others, will be used as an electronics testing and measurement and verification centre. There are many benefits that will accrue out of this acquisition. “Presently, all electronic equipment has to be sent overseas for testing. This takes time. Now MUT will be able to do the testing within the centre. This will save us a lot of time. The University will be able to generate a third stream income as the private sector will bring their electronic equipment for testing and other related checking as required by law,” said Prof Malinga. This is going to the first such centre in the province. It will assist in development of the country’s competitiveness in electronics and energy management.

Acquiring a building with the state of the art equipment is expected to assist MUT in its quest to be one of the major contributors to the production of green energy, and the creation of a healthy environment. One of the University’s aspirations is to contribute to the limitation of the impact of green houses.

Notes for the Editors

Notes for the editors

  1. Profile on Professor Dlamini
  2. About the MUT Research, Innovation and Engagements week (10-14 July)

Professor Zodwa Dlamini

DVC:  Research, Innovation and Engagements, MUT

Professor Zodwa Dlamini is the current Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagements (RIE). She is the member of the Council for Scientific Advisers (CSA) of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), an international scientific body composed of eminent scientists or scientists of the highest profile and international standing, nominated by member state (Ministry of Science & Technology), in the substantive fields of ICGEB (2017 July). She grew up in the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, Mahlabatini, Enhlungwane District. Professor Dlamini obtained her BSc (Biochemistry and Microbiology) and BSc.Hons (Biochemistry) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), MSc from the University of Natal (Biotechnology) and PhD at the University of Natal (Molecular Medicine). She joined the University of Western Cape as a postdoctoral fellow (Molecular Oncology). She was then appointed as a lecturer at University of Witwatersrand (Genetics) and was promoted to a Senior Lecturer (Molecular Pathology).

She then joined the University of Limpopo (UL) as an Associate Professor in Biochemistry and interviewed successfully at University of South Africa (UNISA) in the role of Deputy Executive Dean and Full Professor in Molecular Genetics.

In June 2015, she was appointed by Mangosuthu University of Technology as the Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagements. Her research, is a highly specialized area of molecular oncology and has been recognized internationally, evidenced by: invitations to review articles in international journals of high standing; invitations to Chair and give keynote lectures at international conferences; an appointment as an Honorary Senior Lecturer; and then a Research Fellow by the University of Bristol in the UK. She was awarded the AACR-NCI for the International Investigator Opportunity Grant in 2007. Professor Dlamini was also awarded a Royal Society Fellowship to work on splicing regulation at the University of Bristol, 2008.

She was appointed by the Minister of Health as the Vice Chairperson of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Board for two terms (2010-2016). She is the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) member of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Standing Committee (2015-) and was invited to be on the ASSAf Consensus Panel to peer review 23 journals in Mathematics and Science (2016-). She has recently been appointed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to serve on the Department of Higher Education and Training’s Research Outputs Evaluation Panel (2017-).

As a recognised international expert, Professor Dlamini represents the National Department of Health in the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Scientific Advisory Board on Preclinical Drug Development Platform (2013-). She also serves on the DST/SAMRC National Genomics and Precision Medicine Think Tank (2016). She has successfully balanced science leadership and research focus with the training of postgraduates and maintained her international scientific reputation whilst spearheading the implementation of government related research policies.

ABOUT THE 2nd MUT RESEARCH, INNOVATION & ENGAGEMENTS (RIE) WEEK 2017 

The Office of the DVC: Research, Innovation & Engagements is proud to host yet another annual Research, Innovation and Engagements (RIE) Week. The 2017 MUT RIE is poised to be bigger and better under the aptly crafted theme: “Engaging Globally for Local Impact”. The focus and objective of the 2017 RIE Week is premised on advancing the knowledge economy in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and beyond. This portfolio will also outline its progress in 2 years under the leadership of Professor Dlamini and where to from now.

During RIE Week from 10 – 14 July, MUT will be hosting academic institutions from all over the world as part of strengthening its global reach as a key player in global research collaboration. The international partners will be interacting and engaging with MUT staff and students as well as other key institutional stakeholders. The envisaged highlight of the MUT RIE Week will be the launch of five milestone documents of the university. These documents include the Inaugural MUT Research and Innovation Annual Report; the first MUT Research and Innovation Framework; the MUT Research and Innovation Strategic Plan; the first MUT Engagement Plan; and the first MUT Internationalisation Strategy.

The MUT’s Internationalisation Strategy and the Engagement Plan are already being implemented through the launch of the Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) and Ireland Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) “twinning initiative”. The Ministry of Science and Technology will be launching the MUT CSIR-funded Electronics Testing Unit and the TIA-funded Measurement & Verification Centre. These two centres are hosted at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) building on Ridge Road (Durban). The MUT Internationalisation Strategy as well as the Engagement Plan will be implemented through having both global and local communities interacting to advance research, innovation and the community engagement agenda. The RIE Week provides the greatest platform for interaction between academia, business, industry, government and communities to share knowledge on sessions advancing the government priorities as well as showcasing research and development at MUT and building up to the MUT Multidisciplinary Research Institute (M-MRI).

MUT will also launch its Flagship project on Climate Change, which supports environmental sustainability, and pledges MUT’s corporate citizenship. This session will focus on renewable energy, which will include both solar and bio energy, as well as a panel discussion by some members from the BRICS countries. MUT RIE Week will also host the KZN Technoparks. Key panellists from the locally and abroad will lead discussions on “research and development, entrepreneurship and SMMEs development and support”.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), CSIR Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) will lead a session on Big Data Analytics.  The Director of the Centre for Genomics and Bioinformatics from the University of Louisiana, in New Orleans, USA and European Union expert through DIT, will introduce international flavour to the topic of high performance computing. This session will cut across the three MUT faculties, as there will be speakers from Engineering Sciences, Economics and Natural Sciences and Management Sciences.

On the second evening of RIE Week will be the Founders’ Dinner. This dinner marks the zenith of the MUT research agenda which takes into cognisance how MUT was founded by a sole African, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who saw that there was a need for technical  education for Africans in the then Natal Province. Prince Buthelezi approached the late Sir Harry Oppenheimer, a philanthropist and business magnate, resulting in the establishment of MUT in 1979. Emboldened by this philanthropic gesture, the RIE week will:

  • Honour men, women groups and organisations who worked to build MUT into a new generation University, from top alumni who continuously find ways to partner with MUT, to leaders that have been at the helm of MUT and walked with MUT to build it into a national university;
  • Celebrate the on-going road map of developing MUT into a pre-eminent University of Technology that supports the National Systems of Innovation (NSI) and the Development Plan. This is a move towards positioning MUT for a more critical role in changing lives and fulfilling dreams of a student body from a predominantly working class; and
  • Deliver on MUT’s mission as an enabling institution that is committed to nation-building.

The session on Health and Precision Medicine will be chaired by one of the eminent researchers in Medical Science, the President and CEO of SAMRC, Professor Glenda Gray.