Dr Rachel Chikwamba, CSIR Group Executive, Stakeholder Alliances and Communication; Bjoern Meth DuPont Sales Director Southern Africa; and Ms Berenice Lue Marais, CSIR Strategic Alliances at the CSIR DuPont event.
Back row: Schu Shuttle, Centre for Mining Innovation, Dr Mkhulu Mathe, Materials Sciences and Manufacturing; Michael Peter, DuPont; Dr Mlawule Mashego, Natural Resources and Environment; Gary Easter, DuPont, Michael Peter, DuPont; Themba Belle, CSIR Strategic Alliances; and Richard Ntombela; DuPont.
Front row: Dr Joe Mapiravana, Built Environment; Dr Simukai Utete, Modelling and Digital Sciences; Dr Mamoeletsi Mosia, Material Sciences and Manufacturing; Bjoern Meth, DuPont; Dr Rachel Chikwamba, CSIR Executive; Berenice Lue Marais, CSIR Strategic Alliances; Antoinette DuRandt, DuPont; and Dr Martin Mgangira, Built Enviroment.
Bjoern Meth, DuPont Sales Director Southern Africa, Berenice Lue Marais, CSIR Strategic Alliances; Dr Rachel Chikwamba, CSIR Group Executive, Stakeholder Alliances and Communication; Carlman Moyo Regional Director, DuPont Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA); and Dr Cornelius Ruiters, CSIR Built Environment Executive Directors.
Bjoern Meth, Sales Director at DuPont Southern Africa, believes that the challenges of the future are big and can only be solved with the creation of strong partnerships and networks that create solutions for the needs of enterprise. This he said at a meeting hosted by Berenice Lue Marais, CSIR Strategic Alliances.
The focus of the event – that was held at the Knowledge Commons on 23 April 2012 – was to give delegates from the CSIR and DuPont the opportunity to flesh out areas of collaboration after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 1 February this year.
Lue Marais highlighted that the MoU created a framework, which defined how the CSIR and DuPont would go about collaborating and explained that the steering committee would drive the collaboration process with technical experts.
The MoU included affordable housing; water treatment technologies; the mining field; and roads, as possible areas of collaboration. Before agreeing on specific projects, the two organisations took time to learn more about their respective capabilities.
DuPont is 210 years old and has 70 000 employees spread over 90 countries world-wide. “Our strategy is based on megatrends. There are 367 000 children born each day and that leads us to the challenges of feeding them. They also need energy, light and water,” says Meth.
“It is important for us (DuPont) to know what drives you (the CSIR) so that we can help while fulfilling our organisational objectives as well,” said Carlman Moyo, Regional Director at DuPont Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Dr Rachel Chikwamba – CSIR Group Executive: Stakeholder Alliances and Communication – expressed hope that the discussions would evolve into projects. In her overview of the organisation, Chikwamba explained that the CSIR played within a somewhat hidden space, but powered big products. “We make a difference in the spaces we operate in within and beyond Africa. We intend to make a difference and impact with our multi-disciplinary muscle in health and other key areas.”
Delegates from the CSIR and DuPont also gave presentations in:
- Mine safety – Schu Schuttle (CSIR Centre for Mining Innovation); Dr Simukai Utete (CSIR Mobile Intelligence Autonomous Systems); and Antoinette DuRandt (DuPont Sustainable Solutions)
- Renewable energy – Dr Mkhulu Mathe (CSIR Materials Sciences and Manufacturing); and Brian Tsikada (DuPont SSA)
- Water Technologies – Laurie Barwell (CSIR R&D Natural Resources and the Environment (NRE)); and Dr Mlawule Mashego (CSIR NRE)
- Roads – Dr Martin Mgangira (CSIR Built Environment (BE)); and Richard Ntombela (DuPont Packaging and Industrial Polymers)
- Affordable housing – Dr Joe Mapiravana (CSIR BE); and Michael Peter (DuPont Building Innovations)
The dialogue was robust and delegates identified further areas of collaboration, and discussed existing partnerships. Mashego explained that the CSIR had been interacting with DuPont since 2009. He said, “DuPont supplied us with Chlorine dioxide to get rid of algae bloom at sites such as Hartbeespoort Dam.”
Moyo said that DuPont had identified other areas of collaboration, but it was important to decide, which areas would result in mutually beneficial projects.
Mapiravana and Hilda van Rooyen – CSIR BE Stakeholder Alliances Communications Practitioner – treated the delegation to a tour of Low-Income House Demonstration Project and a brief introduction to the Heavy Vehicle Simulator (HVS) at the CSIR Innovation Site.
DuPont will host the next meeting between the two organisations in July 2012.
News contributed by Mapulane Mokhoantle, CSIR Strategic Communication
15 May 2012