“It is unbelievable how things have developed and our successes are phenomenal. I would like to congratulate everyone who has contributed to make the HOPE Project a success.”
This was the message of Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, at a feedback session for faculty staff on the successes of the HOPE Project held on Thursday (12 April 2012). The event formed part of the HOPE Week, a celebration of the successes of the HOPE Project held on campus the past week. The HOPE Project is a campus wide initiative through which SU uses its teaching, research and community interaction expertise to create sustainable solutions for some of the most pressing challenges in South Africa and Africa.
The HOPE Project initiatives that the Faculty is involved in are Energy and the Environment, Communication and Information Systems and Food Security – together boasting some 40 projects under these themes.
The successes of the HOPE Project are evident in the production of postgraduate degrees. There were more postgraduate students studying under the banner of the HOPE Project as initially expected. Between 2009 and 2011 the expectation was for 191 Master’s Degrees. The result however was 287 registrations. On PhD level the expectation was for 59 entries, but 90 registered. 164 Master’s Degrees were obtained while the expectation was for 127. With regard to doctorates, 25 degrees were obtained while the expectation was 17. Publication output with regard to the HOPE Project is also impressive. This includes 146 journal articles and 347 contributions at conferences.
The SU Council awarded R52,66 million in seed money to Engineering for HOPE Project initiatives. Something that the Faculty is very proud about is that this served as motivation for an additional R77,06 million coming from industry.
Everything taken into account the profit of the Council’s investment in the research initiatives is 350%.
At the session four researchers gave feedback on their projects. The projects were on telemedicine; utilising unmanned aeroplanes in monitoring resources, disaster management and security; sustainable building materials from plant materials to make biofuel. From all four presentations it was clear that the Faculty’s research potentially has a big impact on people, the country and the world.
Prof Schoonwinkel concluded by saying: “You can see that we do good research on challenges that leads to production knowledge. To our researchers and support staff: you create HOPE! I am very proud about Engineering’s effort to bring about HOPE.”