The Chemical Industry Education and Training Authority (CHIETA) will be funding two South African universities with R1,647,500 this year, supporting research and innovation in pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology, and fuel cell batteries.
Yershen Pillay, CEO, CHIETA
Said CHIETA CEO Yershen Pillay: “We must cement new and lasting partnerships that will allow us to put the chemical industry on the fast-track to adopting 4IR and to continue to innovate in our quest to eliminate poverty, reduce inequality, while spurring the economic development of our country.”
Work integrated learning opportunities
Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in Pretoria North was granted R387,500 for its work integrated learning programmes. It will partner with pharmaceutical companies to offer work integrated learning for undergraduate students studying towards pharmaceutical-related qualifications.
Vaal University of Technology (VUT) has also received R510,000 to produce nanotechnology from waste glass. VUT’s project involves the collection of waste glass bottles for recycling and conversion into nanoscilia. “The project will make use of non-returnable bottles that would be sourced from townships in the Vaal region. It will benefit unemployed youths in the townships who will be collecting and recycling the glass bottles,” Pillay continues.
Nanoscilica products produced from the project, which will benefit tyre manufacturers, pharmaceuticals and plastics industries, are set to boost South Africa’s exports. The project will also contribute to reducing pollution as used bottles would be recycled.
VUT electric car project
VUT has been allocated a further R750,000 for an electric car project. The programme will also help master’s degree students to develop a chitosan membrane for electricity production, which will be utilised in the development of fuel cell batteries for electric cars and capacitation of students with fourth industrial revolution (4IR) skills. VUT will also be partnering with Pet Industrial where students will use the firm’s facilities for membrane development. The project will benefit the chemicals and energy industries, especially in the promotion of renewable energy.