A possible Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on water treatment may emanate from Professor Catherine Ngila’s recent visit to the University of New South Wales in Sydney (UNSW), Australia.
Prof Ngila represented UJ’s Applied Chemistry Department when she met with the Director of the host institution’s UNESCO Membrane Centre, Professor Greg Leslie, to discuss possible collaboration, in line with UJ’s Nanotechnology Innovation Centre (NIC)/ Mintek Project.
The Department of Applied Chemistry collaborates with the DST/Mintek NIC in an attempt to develop nanomaterials-based solutions to solve problems relating to water treatment (Water Platform). The NIC operates under the umbrella of the Water and Health Research Group, which is a multidisciplinary sounding board within the university, for water-related issues, including the treatment, distribution, and social consequences of water resources. Its vision is to provide nanotechnology solutions for effective treatment of water to improve the quality of life of the people of South Africa.
The project seeks to address the objectives of the National Nanotechnology Strategy (NNS) of South Africa, Prof Ngila said. This is in respect of improving the quality of life by pursuing research and development in water treatment, utilizing nanotechnology and membrane technology. The NNS-Water focus is on nanocomposite membranes for water treatment and therefore the visit by Prof Ngila aimed to visit UNSW and meet with the Director of the UNSW’s UNESCO Membrane Centre, and discuss ways of collaboration. Modes of collaborations include student & staff exchange between UNSW and UJ, applying for joint external funding to undertake research projects, among other activities. Draft MOA document is currently being developed and will be submitted to the relevant higher offices of the two institutions.