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Durban University of Technology, in line with its strategy, ENVISION2030 and its Engagement Framework 2030, is hosting an Industry-Academic Forum Webinar as part of its engagement with its quad-helix partners. This is being done under the auspicies of the DVC Research, Innovation and Engagement Office led by Professor Sibusiso Moyo the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research Innovation & Engagement; Cooperative Education, led by the Acting Director, Dr Temba Msukwini and Technology, Transfer and Innovation, led by the Director: Prof Keolebogile Motaung at the Durban University of Technology.  Industry stakeholders and the relevant representatives from the eThekwini Innovation Workstream of the eThekwini Economic Council have been invited to the Industry-Academic Forum webinar to discuss their respective focus areas and potential areas of collaboration with DUT on Monday, 28 June 2021, via MS Teams.  For those interested to join us use contact: Ms Shireen Singh on email: for further information.

DUT in 2021, is ranked 10th globally for its research citations by the Times Higher Education World University rankings. It has an average of 30 000 students annually and offers programmes in the Applied Sciences, Health Sciences, Engineering, Accounting and Informatics, Arts and Design and Management Sciences with the new Business School that will offer Executive programmes (see

We have a number of research focus areas in Water, Enzyme Technology, Nanotechnology, Food and Nutrition Security, Computational Modelling and BioAnalytical Chemistry, Systems Science, Urban Futures, Peace Studies, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Drug Delivery Systems-Plant Biotechnology, Management Studies, Energy, ICT and Society, Health Studies, GenderJustice and Human Development, Transformation through the Arts and Design, Space Science Programme, Green Engineering and Process Sustainability and Smart Grids. See relevant links on (DUT-Research-Focus-Areas.pdf) and DUT-Case-for-Support.pdf.

Giving more understanding on the exciting and much anticipated Industry-Academic Forum webinar taking place on 28 June 2021, is Dr Themba Msukwini, Acting Director: Co-operative Education and External Engagement.

He indicated that there is a vital need for such a forum as this will increase network of relevant industries covering all sectors and provide opportunities for staff and student engagement. It will also ensure our projects both in teaching and learning, research and innovation are relevant and able to generate new knowledge and solutions.

Dr Msukwini also relayed that this is the DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement collaboration with all relevant industries, government and NGOs and other quad-helix partners.

 “DUT will discuss the its research and innovation strengths and capacities, its innovation and entrepreneurial offerings and opportunities for joint collaborations to benefit the City and Region. This will highlight engagement opportunities and inform the launch a “DUT Innovation Industry Strategy Group (DUT IISG) in the next engagement forum,” he said.

He also relayed that the forum links to the university’s ENVISION2030 strategic plan.

The Established Niche Focus Areas Contact Leaders Are:

WATER Research Focus Area Leader: Prof Faizal Bux Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology.

The institute encompasses a dynamic group of researchers involved in innovative research. Core research areas in the institute are wastewater treatment technology, algal biotechnology and environmental biotechnology. The Institute is host to one of two NRF South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) research chairs in wastewater treatment in South Africa.

Tel: 031 373 2346.


ENZYME TECHNOLOGY Research Focus Area Leader: Prof Suren Singh, Applied Sciences.

The Enzyme Technology Research group at DUT is under the leadership of Prof Suren Singh and Prof Kugen Permaul, conducting research on the discovery, improvement, production and application of microbial enzymes.

These enzymes have applications spanning agricultural, biomedical and industrial sectors. In addition to its expertise in screening, cloning and expression of enzymes and production by fermentative processes, the group is also researching the degradation of biological macromolecules to produce derivatives of industrial importance. Research in the area of Enzyme Technology currently follows a three-pronged approach:

  • Investigation of the fundamental aspects associated with the production of fungal and bacterial enzymes, their characterisation and the modification of their characteristics to enhance industrial applications.
  • Investigation of the application of selected enzymes to produce various value-added products.
  • Development of Thermomyces lanuginosus as high expression level enzyme factory using molecular and bioinformatics methods and tools.


TEL: 031 373 2720


NANOTECHNOLOGY Research Focus Area Leader: Prof Mervyn Kanny, Engineering and the Built Environment (Mechanical Engineering).

The Composite Research Group has three focuses:

·        Composites,

·        Bio-Composites and

·        Nano-Composites.


Tel: 031 373 2230


FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY Research Focus Area Leader: Prof E.O. Amonsou (from 1 April 2020, Applied Sciences).

The focus of the research is to evaluate the cross-sectional effect of the three pillars of food security (food availability, food accessibility and food usage) on nutritional status (over-nutrition and under-nutrition) in vulnerable population groups in the greater Durban area and to plan, develop and implement interventions to address needs identified in various communities.


Tel: 031 373 5314


COMPUTATIONAL MODELLING AND BIOANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY Research Focus Area Leader: Prof K. Bisetty, Department of Chemistry.

Computational Modelling and BioAnalytical Chemistry focus area comprises the following research groups in chemistry: Ionic Liquids, Synthetic Organic Medicinal Chemistry, Phase Equilibria and Environmental Chemistry.

These being the primary research areas, have contributed to more than 95% of the research outputs in the Department of Chemistry for this reporting period. It is also noteworthy to mention that Chemistry has been the second most productive department in the FAS in terms of research and innovation.


031 373 2311


SYSTEMS SCIENCE Research Focus Area Leader: Prof Kevin Duffy, Institute of Systems Science.

The Institute of Systems Science (ISS) was created from an existing Centre of Excellence to conduct high calibre research into real-world questions using multi­disciplinary computational and mathematical systems methods. Develop simulation and mathematical methods to help understand these questions.


Tel: 031 373 6733


URBAN FUTURES Research Focus Area Leader: Prof Monique Marks, Urban Futures Centre.

The centre’s aim is to be an intellectual and practical hub geared towards shaping urban spaces that are vibrant, resilient, accessible, egalitarian, caring and well-designed.

The UFC tests out ‘solutions’ through practical interventions, utilising the wide range of DUT’s capacity, skills, resources and partnerships, and to involve urban dwellers, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised, in problem identification, resolution and planning.


Tel: 031 373 2180


PEACEBUILDING Research Focus Area Leader: Prof Geoff Harris, International Centre of Nonviolence (ICON) and Management Sciences.

ICON’s mission is to make strategic interventions in education that challenge structural violence.   These processes work to bring key changes in society – specifically supporting the creation of a culture of non-violence.


Tel: 031 373 5609


INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS AND DRUG DELIVERY SYSTEMS – PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY Research Focus Area Leader: Dr Viresh Mohanlal, Faculty of Applied Sciences.

The research encompasses vegetative, generative and propagative technologies that extend ways to produce bio-chemical and pharmaceuticals from plants.


031 373 5426


ENERGY Research Focus Area Leader: Dr Ian Lazarus, Department of Physics.

The DUT Energy Technology Station known as “KZN Industrial Energy Efficient Training and Resource Centre” (IEETR), is based within the Physics Department, in the Faculty of Applied Sciences. The station was created in July 2012 and is funded by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) of South Africa to respond to the need for awareness, innovation, development, empowerment, entrepreneurship, research and technology transfer in energy efficiency and sustainable energy within KZN. The centre conducts research in various areas of renewable and sustainable energy.


Tel: 031 373 5358


ICT AND SOCIETY Research Focus Area Leader: Prof O.O. Olugbara, Faculty of Accounting and Informatics.

The core focus of the area research is developing contemporary and futuristic ICT innovations for foreseeable real-world problems and opportunities.


Tel: 031 373 5597


MATERNAL HEALTH STUDIES Research Focus Area Leader: Prof Nokuthula Sibiya, Faculty of Health Sciences.

The aim of this research focus area is to respond to the Sustainable and Development Goals (SDGs) # 3 and 4, by decreasing maternal morbidity and mortality rates and ultimately align these goals to the burden of diseases and health systems responses in South Africa and other countries.

The MRF funded three-year collaborative study between the Faculty of Health Sciences and KZN Department of Health (KZN DOH) project that she is currently leading is:  Evaluation of Web based District Health Information Systems and Health Patient Registration System to Monitor Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health Indicators for Universal Health Coverage.

This operational feasibility study combines epidemiological and demographic approaches with Big Data analytic methods to establish innovations in the current health information system to monitor sexual, reproductive, maternal and child health (SRMNH) indicators, enhance data use and quality in health facilities, generate scientifically valid interoperability systems and technical capacity for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health (KZN DOH) through an unique partnership between the KZN DOH and the Durban University of Technology (DUT).



GENDERJUSTICE AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Research Focus Area Leader: Prof Cheryl Potgieter, Arts and Design Research and Postgraduate Support [new] (coordinated by the Office of the DVC RIE).

The GenderJustice, Health and Human Development Focus Area headed by Prof Cheryl Potgieter was started in mid-2019.

The focus area does both research and capacity development. GJHHD is committed to interdisciplinary work and works with colleagues across faculties at DUT. One of the main aims is to increase and strengthen the gender research at DUT, increase the number of women who are publishing but also to have a close link between gender justice research, policy and intervention both at DUT and the broader society. We have thus appointed Research Associates who are active both in Higher Education and the Public Sector.

GJHHD has secured an international project on Gender Resilience and Intersectionality working with academics across the globe. We aspire to continue engaging both locally and internationally and to continue to host and support post-doctoral scholars and new PHD registrations and continue with the regular seminars. 

Current projects and proposed projects include a focus on Gender and Tax, Women Academics and Female Students in a COVID/Post COVID World. New projects being conceptualised are linked to Issues of Mental Health and Suicide in Higher Education and Women in MK.

GJHHD capacity Development Focus forms a major part of our work.  We launched the Research and Doctoral Leadership Academy in 2020. (RADLA)’s focus is to support academics in managing their careers to become full professors, Leaders in Academia, NRF rated and to supervise students successfully. The academy primarily supports academics who have already obtained their PhDs or have registered for a PhD. We assist academics to improve their credentials and thereby become excellent scholars.

 The academy has in a very short space of time been successful is supporting academics in successful rating applications, securing book contracts and increasing their publication output. 


Tel: 031 373 2686


TRANSFORMATION THROUGH THE ARTS AND DESIGN Research Focus Area Leader: Dr E. Rapeane-Mathonsi, Faculty of Arts and Design.

The research focuses on critical and creative arts, cultural work, pedagogy, practice and intellectual discourse that is socially engaged, responsible, historically and spatially situated, as well as dialogically focused in order to engage local and global discursive terrains, debates and movements.


Tel: 031 373 5837


SPACE SCIENCE PROGRAMME Research Focus Area Leader: Prof I. Davidson, (Re: Prof D. Ilcev) Accounting and Informatics Management Sciences Engineering and the Built Environment (Coordinated by the Office of the DVC RIE) *DST-funded Initiative.

The South African Government is committed to the transformation of the Economy into a Digital Economy in readiness for Industry 4.0. DUT Space Science (SS) program is a capacity building initiative to train/develop expertise in satellite communications, navigation and positioning, through graduate studies and research in SS and CNS (Communication, Navigation/e-Navigation and Surveillance) for national economic development, with applications in various sectors of the economy such as telecommunication, power and energy, mining, marine navigation and air-traffic. Activities include: Satellite & Space-based Engineering; Satellite E-solutions; Stratospheric Platform Systems for CNS: Airships and Aircraft; Intelligent Transport Systems and Augmentation of GNSS Solutions.


Tel: 031 373 2472


GREEN ENGINEERING AND PROCESS SUSTAINABILITY Research Focus Area Leader: Prof Sudesh Rathilal Engineering and the Built Environment [new] (Chemical Engineering).

The RFA – Green Engineering and Sustainability is based in Chemical Engineering but is essentially a multidisciplinary research area. The group has many divisions dealing with the reduction and/or valorization of waste (domestic, municipal and industrial) for all aspects be it solid, liquid or gas.

The group has several researchers from Chemical Engineering as well as members from other departments within DUT.

There are more than 5 Doctoral and 10 Masters students currently registered under this area with support from many external collaborators including Prof Bakare from MUT, Prof VL Pillay from SUN, Prof Ramsuroop from CPUT and Prof Isa from WITS.


031 373 2498


SMART GRIDS Research Focus Area Leader: Prof IE Davidson, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment [new] (Electrical Power Engineering).

Every facet of human development is woven around a sound and stable energy supply system. DUT Smart Grid RFA engages in research relating to “grid integration of renewable energy using power electronics and innovation for intelligent cities”, using Industry 4.0 tools and applications in electrical power and energy systems, to solve problems of load shedding, security of supply. SGs are electrical grids merging bi-directional power flow with information flow to monitor changes in electricity usage and supply using digital communications technology to detect and react to the usage of the electrical supply and integration into the power grid. 


Tel: 031 373 2472


Management Sciences Research Focus Area Team leader: Prof Fulufhelo, Netswera Faculty of Management Sciences.

The focus of this research is on the transformation of business, entrepreneurship and the management of small businesses in South Africa. The focus is a cross-functional research area, which recognises that transformation is critical to aspects of business, large or small. The research areas/projects are selected and designed in accordance with the above focus areas and industry needs. The focus is to build a knowledge base with respect to solutions identified by business in their journey towards sustainability.        


Tel: 031 3715130


Pictured: Dr Themba Msukwini, Acting Director: Co-operative Education responsible also for External Engagement.

Prof Sibusiso Moyo/Waheeda Peters

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