The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. It undertakes directed research and development for socio-economic growth.

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November 2012

Natural environment

All South African households in large centres to separate household waste by 2016
A recent CSIR study revealed that only 3.3% of the country’s urban population regularly recycled household waste in 2010. This finding is underscored by another study, also conducted by the CSIR, which shows that, of the estimated 19 million tons of municipal waste generated in South Africa in 2011, about 25% were mainline recyclables such as glass, paper, tins and plastics.

Practical and reader-friendly guide on air quality for environmental managers
Air quality officers and environmental health practitioners now have access to a simple but comprehensive guide to help them how to consider health in air quality management. Published by the CSIR, the Quick Best Practices Guide to consider air-related human health in South Africa fills a significant gap in air quality management in South Africa.

Built environment
CSIR publishes guidelines for social facility planning
The CSIR has published guidelines for the provision of social facilities in South African settlements. These are for use in the planning and development of social facilities locally in towns, cities and provinces. The guidelines apply to a wide range of facilities across many sectors, including health, education, sports, recreation and the public service.

Defence and security
Post-graduate students present their Master's degree studies in explosive fields
The CSIR hosted a breakfast event with senior officials from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in honour of four students from Walter Sisulu University (WSU) who recently completed their studies towards their Master’s degrees in fields related to chemical aspects of explosives.

Enabling technologies: Information and communications technology
CSIR taking the lead in trailing future wireless communication technology based on TV white space
With broadband having been identified as a key social and economic driver, initiatives to expand broadband access in rural areas have been in the spotlight recently. A new method for enabling such access is called TV white space technology. This refers to the use of unused spectrum in the TV spectrum bands. CSIR Meraka Institute has been allocated a test licence by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) for the first TV white space technology trial in South Africa in January 2013, in partnership with Google, TENET, WAPA and eSchools.
Digital Doorway installed Down Under
A local innovation that is promoting computer literacy in South Africa and Africa by providing rural communities with ICT access is set to impact on the lives of indigenous communities of Australia. The Digital DoorwayTM, a joint initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and the CSIR Meraka Institute, is expanding its influence beyond Africa's borders to promote formal and informal learning in high-needs communities in Australia.
Technology for rural innovation and education in the Eastern Cape
After 11 years, the CSIR has returned to the area where some of its first technology interventions for development were tested in the Eastern Cape. During October 2012, the CSIR accompanied a delegation from the Department of Science and Technology to Cofimvaba in the rural Eastern Cape to acquaint themselves with the latest developments in a range of activities on technology for rural innovation and education.
National meeting on high performance computing to highlight successes
The annual meeting of South Africa’s Centre for High Performance Computing will this year focus on high performance computing and data applications for increased impact on research.

Enabling technologies: Laser technology
One ion trapped for CSIR physicist; a quantum leap for computing
Nobel Prize season is always exciting to physicists, and this year was no exception when the prize was awarded to Drs David J Wineland and Serge Haroche for “ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems". At the CSIR, the prize had special significance for physicist Dr Hermann Uys, who formerly worked in Wineland’s group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) physics laboratory in Boulder, Colorado in the United States.

Enterprise creation for development
Local succulent yields natural, calmative agent
A South African medicinal plant, Sceletium tortuosum, or Kougoed, has long been traditionally used as a natural anti-depressant to elevate moods and decrease anxiety, stress and tension. A team of CSIR natural product chemists and experts in enterprise creation for development is investigating the required cultivation practices for the species to relieve pressure on wild populations, as well as for use in the product development process.

Awards and events
Think you can code? CSIR's Jaco Cronje cracks 'ultimate artificial intelligence' game programming challenge
Jaco Cronje, an image processing researcher at the CSIR was named winner in a nation-wide programming contest. The Entelect 100k Challenge required contestants to create an artificial intelligence program to compete against an opponent in the classic light-cycle game, as seen in the popular sci-fi film, Tron.
Winning recipes on innovation for poverty alleviation
During a side event held at the SA-EU Summit in Brussels, Belgium during September 2012, two CSIR staff members, Kobus Roux and Lizande Kellerman, gave presentations to a high-ranking audience consisting of the Head of State of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma, and European Union (EU) ambassadors. The Conference on Innovation and Poverty Alleviation was organised by science and technology officials from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the EU.
South Africa represented at world astronautical event
The picturesque city of Naples in Italy was the venue for the 63rd International Astronautical Congress (IAC) themed ‘Space science and technology for the needs of all,’ held from 1 to 5 October 2012.
First African team participates in space law moot court competition
A team of law students from Nigeria (winners of the first Africa round) took part in the world finals of the Manfred Space Law Moot Court Competition for the first time. The finals took place in Naples, Italy in October 2012.
Active participation of industries and universities in emerging nonwoven field
A recent training programme in nonwoven materials has drawn favourable response from the nonwoven industry sector. The CSIR and the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) offered an elementary nonwoven training programme to members of the Nonwoven Association of South Africa, universities and technical textile industry sectors.
First SA-GEO symposium hailed a success
Over 100 Earth observations (EO) professionals from government, academia, science councils, secondary education and industry came together for the first annual SA-GEO Symposium held in Cape Town. The event was organised by the National Earth Observations and Space Secretariat (NEOSS), an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and hosted by the CSIR.
Aerospace SMME participants at AAD take the floor
Twenty-four South African small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) took the opportunity to engage with local and overseas players in the aerospace industry at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2012 event held from 19 to 23 September 2012 at the Air Force Base, Waterkloof in Centurion. Their participation was funded by the Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI), an initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), hosted and managed by the CSIR.
Kevin Wall wins esteemed 2012 JD Roberts Award
In the spirit of recognising talent and research at the CSIR, the coveted 2012 JD Roberts Award recently went to the CSIR’s Dr Kevin Wall, for his leading role in developing innovative solutions for alternative housing, infrastructure asset management and the maintenance of sanitation systems.

Researcher profile
The adventures of Shahdi: Mapping one continent at a time
Dr Ali Shahdi learnt the meaning of the word ‘independence’ early in life when he decided to travel from Iran to Canada – two continents apart with a land distance measuring close to 10 000 kms. He was young and just like the technical challenge in the robotics field that he is specialising in, he had to map his way in foreign territory. But he was determined and set his sight on obtaining his postgraduate degree in robotics. He absorbed the knowledge like a sponge and acquired the necessary skills and experience before hitting the road again; this time opting for South Africa.

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