Dr Rohani Hashim: WAITRO Secretary-General provides overview of WAITRO.
The CSIR hosted the plenary session of the World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations (WAITRO) at the CSIR Knowledge Commons on 15 February 2012.
“It is important for the CSIR to engage with global leaders from both the developed and developing world. These strategic networks enable us to share good practices and learning, and also to identify opportunity for global and regional collaborations,” says CSIR Strategic Alliances Manager Berenice Lue Marais.
The WAITRO delegation was led by WAITRO Secretary-General (and Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (SIRIM)), Dr Rohani Hashim; WAITRO First Vice President (and CEO of Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) in Trinidad and Tabago), Liaquat Ali Shah; and WAITRO Second Vice President (and Uganda Industrial Research Institute Executive Director), Dr Charles Kwesiga.
The WAITRO delegation included:
Department of Science and Technology’s Chief Director: Multilateral and Africa Cooperation, Mmampei Mabusela and CSIR Strategic Alliances, Berenice Lue Marais at WAITRO plenary session.
- Dr Tord Svedberg: CEO, Environment Research Institute, Sweden;
- Dr Eckart Bierduempel: Head of Multinational Networking, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Germany;
- Berenice Lue Marais: WAITRO Regional Focal Point, CSIR;
- Moses Mengu: Chief FP7 Consultant, Danish Technological Institute;
- Prof Josephine Tabiri: CEO, Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute, Ghana; and
- Babatunde Aluko: Director, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Nigeria.
Guests asking questions during WAITRO plenary session.
The purpose of the plenary session was to share ideas and best practices on how to demonstrate impact of research and development (R&D) efforts.
Mengu elaborated that the Danish organisations did not receive any direct support from the government. In Danish organisations, impact was measured by an external panel that looks at the entire innovation system and makes recommendation for improvement.
Bierduempel said that the fact that industry is willing to give them contracts is evidence that they are having some impact. He also highlighted that 30% of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft funding comes from the German government and the biggest chunk is from industry.
CSIR Strategic Alliances PA, Thami Mokone and CSIR’s Human Language Technologies (HLT) Competence Area Manager, Gerhard Taljaard at the WAITRO plenary session sign in table.
The plenary session was also attended by CSIR heads of departments and researchers, as well as representatives from the Department of Science and Technology, including Chief Director: Multilateral and Africa Cooperation, Mmampei Mabusela. Delegates expressed concern for the lack of available funding to assist in implementing collaborative projects, particularly for African initiatives.
Hashim stressed that WAITRO is not a funding agency but only facilitated a platform for networking in order to pair certain needs and capacities together. “The organisation also has a number of fellowship programmes and seminar workshops for young scientists who have not had the opportunity to study and work outside of their country.”
News contributed by Mapulane Mokhoantle, CSIR Strategic Communication
14 March 2012