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In an effort to further enhance its research output, the Durban University of Technology’s Research, Innovation and Engagement office hosted the first student’s entrepreneurial research summit programme at the Durban exhibition centre, last Friday (1 December 2017).

The purpose of the summit was to develop ways to encourage students to be employers and creators of job opportunities instead of being job seekers. The summit consisted of a number of speakers addressing various entrepreneurial topics.

In her opening remarks, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo stated that this was the first time the University had an event of such magnitude.

 “As a university, our focus is mainly to drive the research, innovation and engagement agenda and we are also making sure that we focus on work experiential learning which is key in terms of skills development,” said Prof Moyo.

Moyo further stated that other responsibilities of her office were to deal with academic engagement, which varies from engaging with industry, communities and to engage in research which addresses socio-economic issues. 

At the summit, Neil van der Merwe who was a full-time private   Prosthetics Practitioner spoke about transforming technology into effective corporate solutions. He has since joined DUT as a clinical instructor in the Department of Orthotics and Prosthetics.

“Since I began practising in 1996, I’ve always been interested in research and development, hence much of my free time is spent researching new methods of designing and manufacturing prosthetic devices,” said van der Merwe.

He added that in 2013, his passion for research had strengthened as he was advised to approach a nearby university where he can have the opportunity to study and have his research funded, this made him join DUT. 

Other speakers included; Dr Poppet Pillay of DUT’s Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Atul Padalkar of Bizfarm, Dr Owusu Amposah the Research Director at the Research and Development Strategy Division of AHPT and Tepe Toogun CEO of Cognity Advisory, an African focused development consulting development firm, to mention but a few.


Pictured: Professor Neil van der Merwe speaking during the research summit 2017


Mbuso Kunene.

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