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UJ PEETS: Leading Technology Station

Green Economy

The University of Johannesburg’s Process, Energy and Environmental Technology Station (UJ PEETS) has been recognised as a Leading Technology Station in South Africa. In the last four years, UJ PEETS has grown from an emerging tech station to an academic station and now a leading tech station based on the type of services and support provided to SMEs such as prototype development, capacity development as well as other types of services within the Green Economy.

 

Background

The Technology Stations Programme (TSP) was established to enable Universities to provide technology development services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The Technology Stations (TSs) provide innovative Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) solutions for complex engineering challenges within the relevant industrial sectors aimed at supporting government’s socio-economic priorities. The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) provides financial support through TIA, to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) which house Technology Stations to provide technical support to SMEs in terms of solutions for services and training.

There are 18 Technology Stations (TS) based at 11 Higher Education Institutions in South Africa, managed by the TSP Unit based in Pretoria at the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) office.

The TSP is a management and systems-wide support unit responsible for all TSs across the country. The mission of the TSP is to assist the Technology Stations and HEIs in the core, by performing the following functions:

  • Ensure that funds allocated to the TSP have impact and are aligned with the TIA/DSI national strategic objectives and performance measures;
  • Reduce transaction and co-ordination costs of activities that involve or benefit multiple TSs to promote synergies and network benefits;
  • Monitor and evaluate the performance of TSs SME-related projects, and initiate interventions where required;
  • Identify opportunities to upgrade and/or expand the TSs high-end technology infrastructure;
  • Facilitate opportunities for technology knowledge transfer and innovation support to TIA’s stakeholders; and
  • Promote the network of Technology Stations to other government programmes and ensure that the TSs are aware of and participating in related national priorities and industry programmes.

 

UJ PEETS: Leading Technology Station 2022

The University of Johannesburg’s Process, Energy and Environmental Technology Station (UJ PEETS) has been recognised as a Leading Technology Station in South Africa. In the last four years, UJ PEETS has grown from an emerging tech station to an academic station and now a leading tech station based on the type of services and support provided to SMEs such as prototype development, capacity development as well as other types of services within the Green Economy.

New Tia Logo 22

The technology station is a vehicle for collaboration and is great for the university. Global sustainable development feeds into the activities that UJ PEETS does and contributes to and partnering with TIA, PEETS can play on a global field. UJ PEETS’ mission statement includes being a leading technology station and implements an ongoing philosophy of improvement daily. UJ PEETS believes that as part of organs of State, universities need to look at how to be more relevant through applied research, especially within science and technology, to address issues such as climate change which is a great risk to humanity. The green economy is one of the keys to addressing climate change issues such as greenhouse gases and water shortage issues experienced in the Global South.

Nickey Janse van Rensburg, Station Manager at UJ PEETS, explains the role of universities in society: “It is important that as Institutions of Higher Learning we understand our role and function in society. That we are embedded in society and that Universities should function as a brain, ensuring that that knowledge is shared and made accessible, not only for the people that are on campus – students and academics that are working within that space, but that we really look at how we can make our borders more porous to give access to that knowledge and the TSP enables that”.

The core function of these tech stations is to provide expertise existing within the universities thus being outward focused. At UJ PEETS we are fortunate to be within this innovative eco-system which allows for opportunities for applied research to be created and used by SMEs, through the tech stations to receive support and gain access to these TSPs. The Technology Station Programme is one of the longest standing programmes in South Africa that support innovation, and overtime the TSP will be one of the most impactful programmes within the DSI.

Mr Vusi Skosana, Acting Executive: Innovation Enabling at TIA, expresses that: “TIAs system-wide and management support to host institutions affiliated with the TSP is not limited to grant funding only, but to enable in a sustainable “way of doing things” so we can easily scale up our performance in the programme. This approach is driven by a methodology that make assessment and analysis of the maturity level of each of the Technology Stations based on both the “performance” and “practices”. In total there are 35 sub-dimensions that formulate into the overall results of the benchmarking exercise. I am proud and delighted to see UJ PEETS graduate into the group of the leading Technology Stations that affirm the flagship status of the programme in the DSI”.

The benchmarking criteria positions the top 3 Leading Stations in South Africa where UJ PEETS is one of them. UJ PEETS made the biggest contribution, in the last financial year, supporting SMEs as well as bringing in third-stream income and mobilising that collaboration. Partnerships with institutions locally and internationally in helping to bring in funds and other networks to support activities within the green economy are crucial and that’s where its strengths lie.

Teaser Impact2022

The University of Johannesburg, South Africa’s leading University ranked number 1 by THE Impact Rankings, announced Wednesday, April 27th, 2022. UJ has improved its world rankings and was ranked 69th in the world out of 1406 institutions in its third showing. At the continental level, UJ is second only to Aswan University in Egypt.  The Times Higher Education Impact Ranking is the only global performance table that ranks universities against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 wide-ranging goals are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a universal call for the protection of the planet and its people. “The Future, Reimagined” is more than just a catchphrase. This institution leads Africa and rethinks the future.

 

Collaboration

UJ PEETS and TIA follow a legal framework which dictates the relationship. At UJ PEETS there is a framework for collaboration consisting of academia, government, business and community working alongside each other on various projects implemented.

The core mandate is focused towards SMEs and supporting technology innovation specifically for SMEs. Through our work with local government, supporting some of their issues around service delivery, and through that linking to enterprise supplier development helping business to provide specific services within government – UJ PEETS’ legal framework for that collaboration is paramount as each party brings expertise to the collaboration which brings balance such as taking care of the environment, communities, and ensuring SMEs are at the heart of the collaboration.

The work at UJ PEETS is around the strategic projects to use the project as a catalyst for collaboration to draw in researchers, research units and centres within its institution, and neighbouring institutions within international networks working very closely with TIA to ensure that there is a certain standard and quality of the work as well as real impact leading to socio-economic impact having a positive impact on the local economy.

 

End

The Technology Stations are well positioned to support industry, particularly SMEs and HEIs. The Technology Stations’ activities offer an opportunity to bridge the gap between local suppliers and industry to take advantage of the recapitalisation and expansion programmes by enhancing competitiveness of local suppliers through technology improvement. The Technology Stations provide technology transfer infrastructure that plays a critical role for transferring technologies from HEIs to technology users.

 

For more information about the Technology Innovation Agency, kindly visit their Website.

 

UJ PEETS is funded by the Technology Innovation Agency to enable technology innovation support for SMEs promoting circular green technology solutions.

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