The University’s Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Marcus Ramogale was excited at the possibilities he explored during his participation at the SASUF Research & Innovation Week. Professor Ramogale was among the Vice-Chancellors and university leadership delegation representing 40 universities from South Africa and Sweden, hosted at the University of the Western Cape from 29 to 31 March 2023. The purpose of the week-long event was to further strengthen collaboration between South African and Swedish universities with a focus on research, education, student exchange, and joint funding prospects.
Professor Ramogale identified several possible collaboration areas for MUT which are placed at an advantage because the focus and mandate for SASUF are giving priority to historically disadvantaged institutions.
“There is a lot of potential because our research niche areas are well within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). We need to act as quickly as possible. However, it is important when choosing partners to identify similarities, and work with Swedish institutions that are a perfect match for MUT,” said Professor Ramogale.
Professor Ramogale also said that the University needed to honour the invitation to participate in the SASUF 2024 Research and Innovation Week to be hosted in Sweden.
Professor Ramogale was leading a diverse eight-member delegation that represented the Institution across different conference tracks and themes. Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, attended the Vice-Chancellor and Leadership delegation along with the Vice-Chancellor, while the other MUT staff members participated in the sustainability forum. Two MUT posters were presented on the first day of the event. Professor Busisiwe Nkonki-Mandleni, Director of CEAD at MUT, presented a poster, while the second poster was presented by Arthi Ramrung, a Lecturer at the Teaching and Learning Development Centre’s Maths & Science Unit. Both posters attracted a lot of interest from potential collaborators from Sweden and South Africa.
MUT representatives also attended and participated in discipline-specific workshops in a quest to identify collaborators. Xolile Ngubane, Director at the University’s Technology Station in Chemicals, presented on Social Transformation. The session was presented in collaboration with partners from Stellenbosch University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Science. Ngubane’s session was categorised under SDG 10 with a focus on reduced inequalities.
Zama Sishi, Director of Stakeholder Engagement, jointly presented a session with a partner from University West, Sweden. The joint session was titled ‘Inclusive internationalisation: transforming the education horizon through dialogue about teaching and learning practices in South Africa and Sweden’. Sishi’s presentation was under SDG 4, focusing on quality education.
The other MUT participants were Dr Yvonne Mvuyana, Acting Head of the Department of Public Management and Economics, Dr Xolile Mkhize, Senior Lecturer in the Community Extension department, and Dr Thobeka Makhathini, Senior Lecturer in the Chemical Engineering department.
The Vice-Chancellor’s support and participation at the SASUF Research and Innovation Week gave latitude to MUT’s internationalisation strategy. Signing up for SASUF membership and active participation has given MUT a strong footprint locally and in Sweden.