Wits Enterprise Staff out and about!
Networking in Tanzania
Barbara Herweg, a Project Manager in our Research Support Unit, attended the 4th annual Eastern Africa Research and Innovation Management Association (EARIMA) Conference in Tanzania.
The emphasis of the conference was on Enhancing Research and Innovation for Industrial Development in Eastern Africa. EARIMA is a non-profit association, with its Secretariat hosted in the Directorate of Research and Publications at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in Tanzania. EARIMA focuses primarily on setting up and strengthening regional research and innovation management networks, where managers can access information, share experiences and good practices and benchmark their progress.
This year’s meeting was attended by representatives from many of the regional institutions and therefore offered an opportunity for our Research Support Unit to develop regional networks.
Innovation team heads to Japan
Representatives from WITS Innovation Support were at the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition which took place in Tokyo, Japan recently. It is a premier event for all stakeholders in the water sector, from policy makers to leading organisations that provide technology solutions relevant to this sector.
Through support from the South African Research and Innovation Managers Association (SARIMA) and the Department of Science of Technology, our team was there to engage these stakeholders to identify commercialisation opportunities for water related technologies emanating from WITS’ research.
Tumi Ngqondo who is the Innovation Support Manager handling the water portfolio travelled with Prof Michael Daramola, an innovator behind WITS’ oily wastewater filtration membrane. As a result of upscaling activities funded by the TIA Seed Fund, this technology in particular has been demonstrated to be robust with superior antifouling properties and impeccable selectivity to hydrocarbons. This is a huge a value-add for oily wastewater filtration systems as it means, once implemented this particular membrane will be capable of remaining in operation for extended periods of time.
“Attending the IWA Congress was a strategic opportunity for us to engage directly with key players in the membrane filtration industry in order to market our filtration membrane technology, but over and above that to keep abreast with developments in the water sector,” says Tumi.
He further indicated that, this was particularly motivated by a market analysis that had already been done on the technology which indicated that, from a membrane manufacturing capacity point of view, South Africa does not have many players at the moment. This means that there is a need to go global in order to find potential partners for further development work and subsequent roll out of the technology.
At the event, Tumi and Professor Daramola met a number of key players in membrane filtration systems and the water sector in general, including Swing Corporation, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Pentair and many others who provided invaluable market perspective.