Research and innovation, another core business of the university, is spearheaded by the institution’s Research, Innovation and Engagements Portfolio (RIE). The portfolio consists of the Research Department, the Technology Stations, Community Engagement, Rural Development and partnerships.
MUT explores the benefits of partnerships with business, academia, industry and government in driving the research and innovation (R&I) agenda to deliver solutions that will change the lives of South Africans, and the world.
It also supports the view that while the forces of competitiveness and globalisation are accelerating the scope, pace and importance of cross-border R&I, strengthened by directed partnerships both within and outside South Africa.
A vibrant and internationally competitive science, technology and innovation (STI) system is critical to growing a knowledge-driven economy and improving the social well-being of South Africans.
“To produce credible research by supporting research and development activities, enhancing the quality and quantity of appropriately skilled people and thus become a part of the problem solving mechanism for the region and the country”.*
[* Mangosuthu University of Technology: Research and Technology Transfer Handbook. A Guide for Researchers on Campus. 2015]
The university’s location in Umlazi, Durban’s largest township, provides unique opportunities for use-inspired basic research which combines both usefulness and fundamental understanding. As a university of technology, MUT educates practitioners: students trained with immediately applicable vocational skills. This suggests that the majority of teaching and learning at MUT has an applied focus. Accordingly, research at MUT should be use-inspired harnessing this basic tenet and leveraging the university’s expertise as a university of technology. Many MUT students come from low income families where there has not previously been the opportunity to attend university. The university provides a safe and professional environment for building confidence and academic credentials. MUT has a deep understanding of the issues faced by disadvantaged students. Many of these students do not have access to postgraduate study and do not go on to seek it at other institutions.
Combined with its location, the provision of opportunities for educational advancement to disadvantaged students gives MUT unique qualities among South African Higher Education Institutions. The university’s three Faculties cover a range of research fields that can contribute to the resolution of pressing contemporary challenges locally, nationally and internationally.
“Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) will be recognised as a source of research expertise and advancement”.
MUT has great potential to enhance its standing by improving its research outputs, and in turn sustaining the university. This will only happen if MUT invests in research and innovation.
We have engaged with Science Councils such as the South African Medical Research Council and the Agricultural Council to support our efforts. Our engagement with the ARC has resulted in MUT being able to use the experimental farm in Cedara, and the Department of Agriculture can now introduce undergraduate programmes. This is a big contribution by a research portfolio to a teaching portfolio.
RIE also has met with the MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development and has produced a draft document as to how MUT will work together with DARD. DARD will be funding the initiatives and MUT will be providing expertise.
RIE is currently designing an agenda to meet with the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. The delegation will include MRC CEO and ARC Group Executive for Research and Innovation system to co-ordinate the MUT Research and Innovation support.
We will soon be embarking an approach to business to support Research and Innovation with the building a state of the art building for Research, Innovation, Technology Transfer, Commercialisation and Community Engagements. We are positive that with the support of our engagement departments, science councils, and industry, we can raise funds to further the education of our nation in the spheres of research and innovation.