Research and innovation to improve and contribute to society is the main foundation of the work of the School of Engineering’s five Disciplines, and was the focus of the Engineering Research Expo and Industry Awards at the UNITE Building on the Howard College campus.
The Research Exposition was established to showcase the research and innovation pioneered over the past year at the School. Students and staff pulled out all the stops and visitors were treated to a range of research projects that fall under the five Disciplines.
Exciting projects on display included the Environmental Fluids Mechanics Lab; the Power Systems Research Group; the Pollution Research Group; the Solar Hydro Autonomous Research Cruiser; the Power Line Robotics Research Group; the Rocket Upper Stage Rotating Cold Gas Thruster System; the Phoenix-1B Mk I Rocket; and the Smart Dispenser Non-Prescription Medication Machine, amongst others.
The Research Expo was followed by the Industry and Research Awards Ceremony where researchers and industrial partners were recognised for their contribution to the advancement of research and innovation within UKZN’s School of Engineering.
More than 30 institutions across the country contributed to research, innovation and the growth of engineering at UKZN during 2019, including Armscor, the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Moses Kotane Institute, Pelchem, Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), KZN Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, KZN Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Eskom, eThekwini Municipality, National Research Foundation (NRF), South African Sugar Industry (SASI), SASOL, the Sugar Milling Research Institute (SMRI), Study Trust, Telkom, Transnet, Umgeni Water, the Water Research Commission (WRC), KZN Department of Public Works, Albert Wessel Trust, Agricultural Research Council (ARC), Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Engen, KZN Department of Transport, South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), IFPRI, South African Pulp and Paper Industries (SAPPI), SAPREF, South32, Fulton Trust, Johnson & Matthey, Career Wise, ABSA, Shell SA, SAMRI and Arcelormittal.
Dean of the School of Engineering, Professor Glen Bright acknowledged the industry partners’ key contributions to research and investment in the School.
‘Investment in the School of Engineering through bursaries, research and equipment has made an immense contribution to knowledge generation. It has elevated UKZN Engineering’s scientific visibility to global standing. The School of Engineering humbly acknowledges the support from our industrial partners and would like to express our gratitude and appreciation,’ he said.
‘This event celebrates the immense contributions made by industry that ensure that the School’s research and innovation efforts are relevant and serve the country’s needs.’
Words: Zolile Duma
Photograph: Albert Hirasen