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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Research institutes keen to partner in promoting African manufacturing sector

Dr Rachel Chikwamba, CSIR Group Executive: Strategic Alliances and Communication

Dr Victor Konde, UNECA Scientific Affairs Officer
CHPC Student Cluster Challenge winners

Prof Charles Kwesiga, the 2nd Vice President of WAITRO and Berenice Lue Marais, manager at CSIR Strategic Alliances

Sharing expertise was high on the agenda when CEOs and delegated representatives from various African research institutes attended a two-day workshop at CSIR Knowledge Commons in November 2012. The workshop which was held under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the World Association for Industrial and Technology Research Organisations (WAITRO) Regional Focal Point – with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) – focused on industrial research to promote manufacturing.

“We as research and technology organisations (RTOs) employ the largest numbers of the brightest minds that Africa has. Therefore, the onus is on us to connect networks that are productive,” said Dr Rachel Chikwamba, CSIR Group Executive: Strategic Alliances and Communication. “We should champion the development of Africa’s knowledge economy by crossing the borders between us. We need to share knowledge and leverage our intellectual resources much better,” she added.

The delegates – many of whom hold senior leadership positions at their respective institutions –shared best practices, successes and challenges. Discussions covered a range of topics such as the performance of regional science and technology platforms and initiatives, as well as the national policies and support mechanisms that enable RTOs to serve as engines of growth. To illustrate how the CSIR achieves impact, Rosemary Wolson from the CSIR Licensing and Ventures office also shared the organisation’s technology transfer model.

In mapping a way forward, UNECA Scientific Affairs Officer, Dr Victor Konde, stressed the importance of formalising partnerships between the institutions which were represented at the workshop. “We need to identify common areas of work, establish flagships we can work on together and share our facilities and human resources,” said Konde. Prof Charles Kwesiga – the 2nd Vice President of WAITRO – said that the workshop provided an “excellent networking opportunity to promote African innovation and national systems of innovation,” and thanked all the delegates for their attendance.

“It has been a pleasure to host every institution that was represented at the workshop,” said Berenice Lue Marais, manager at CSIR Strategic Alliances. “The challenges are great but we appreciate the time that the RTO leaders spent here, as well as the knowledge that each of them shared.”

There was a great turn-out at the UNECA/WAITRO Regional Focal Point workshop on industrial research to promote manufacturing


News contributed by Nonkululeko Kubeka, CSIR Strategic Communication

21 January 2013





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