UJ, Nanjing Tech University initiate collaborative research to boost energy sector innovation

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is exploring a Joint Key National Level Laboratory with Nanjing Tech University, with a focus on industrial research in water and energy, linked to the circular economy and a zero-net waste model.

The University of Johannesburg Confucius Institute (UJCI) have joined forces with China under the support and recommendation of Nanjing Tech University and Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), to strengthen the collaboration and knowledge transfer related to science and technology between the two universities, but also between the two countries.

The South African Science and Technology delegation headed by Ms. Punkah Olive Mdaka, Deputy Director: Overseas Bilateral Relations of Department of Science and Technology of South Africa, and Ms. Nolwazi Mamorare, Chief Financial Officer, UJ visited Nanjing Tech University in early June, 2019.

The collaboration efforts are also supported by the UJ Process, Energy and Environmental Technology Station (UJ-PEETS). The primary mandate of the UJ-PEETS is to contribute towards improving the competitiveness of industry and SMEs through the application of specialised knowledge, technology and facilitating the interaction between industry and academia, to enable innovation and technology transfer to grow the green economy. The UJ-PEETS was established in 2010 under the support of UJ and is funded by Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) which is an agency of the Department of Science and Technology, to fulfil this mandate. By partnering with the UJ Confucius Institute, UJ-PEETS supports technology transfer and development that supports commercialisation and industrialisation in a sustainable, circular economy between the two institutions.

President Qiao Xu, in his speech, first extended his welcome to the delegation. He reviewed the history of cooperation between two universities and emphasised that the Confucius Institute jointly built by the two universities has made positive contributions in the exchange of faculty and students, scientific and technological cooperation, cultural integration and cultural and scientific exchanges between two universities and the two countries. “The visit of the delegation for the purpose of building an international joint key laboratory would break new ground for the two universities and even the two countries, which will have far-reaching significance in deepening the cooperation, promoting the regional economic growth of the two countries,” he said.

Ms. Punkah Olive Mdaka reviewed the history of bilateral scientific and technological cooperation between the two countries, pointed out that the cooperation between two countries is in line with the Road & Belt Initiative. She expressed her hoped that the two universities could actively promote the joint laboratory construction and looked forward to more in-depth collaboration between UJ and Nanjing Tech University, as well as between South Africa and China.

Ms. Nolwazi Mamorare affirmed the significance of the cooperation between the two universities She said that the Confucius Institute has made positive contributions to promote the collaboration between the two universities. She expressed her hope that both institutions would continue to strengthen cooperation in student training, scientific research and other fields to facilitate the scientific, technological and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

After the meeting, the delegation visited the State Key Laboratory of MCE at NTU and had a seminar discussing details of international joint key laboratory and potential areas of collaboration, specifically linked to the commercialisation and industrialisation of knowledge generated at Universities. Areas of interest identified were green chemical processing based on integration of chemical production and waste treatment, and advanced porous membrane technology for water treatment. Both these research themes would have potential local application in South Africa and fall within the UJ-PEETS mandate.

Presentations were made by Prof Wanqin Jin, the Director of the State Key Laboratory of Materials-Orientated Chemical Engineering at Nanjing Tech University, which highlighted the commercialisation and industrialisation of knowledge generated. Prof Zhuxiu Zhang, also from the State Key Laboratory presented on Green Chemical Process Based upon Integration of chemical production and waste treatment which was identified as a potential field for collaboration which can be supported by UJ-PEETS and will be further pursued. Prof Zhaoliang Cui presented on advanced porous membrane technology for water treatment from an Industrialisation theory perspective which was also identified as a potential area to collaborate.

Prof Reinhout Meiboom from UJ’s Department of Chemical Sciences presented on the Synergistic effects between supports and catalysts, while Prof Kaushik Mallick presented on the research and development of In-situ Polymerization and composite formation (IPCF) for tailoring advanced functional material. Prof Belaid presented on the Process, Energy & Environmental Technology Station and the curriculum development of the B.ET degree.

A delegation from Nanjing Tech University is expected to meet again in August this year to build on this collaboration.

Further collaboration was established through the 2020 Water in Industry (WIN2020) conference hosted 30/03 – 02/04/2020 in Nanjing, China. More details available on http://www.iwa-win.org

The academic delegation from Nanjing Tech University and the University of Johannesburg. Front row: (left to right): Prof Xing Weihong, Ms Nolwazi Mamorare, UJ, Prof Qiao Xu, Ms Phunka Mdaka, Ms Aarti Panday.


Also Read: UJ’s PEETS lauded for connecting academia and industry to grow green economy

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