The Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA (merSETA), today (17 August 2020) announced the funding support to the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and its consortium partners to fortify the research, innovation and advancement capacity of rapid technology towards delivering a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The innovative collaboration came to fruition with the recent signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the University's Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment and merSETA.
Says Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor & Principal at the University of Johannesburg (UJ): "This collaboration aims to assist the health care industry with critical care technology development in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has revealed deeply entrenched weaknesses in our public institutions, particularly in the healthcare sector. Given the vast shortage of ventilators worldwide, part of this collaboration will work towards the rapid development and manufacturing of non-invasive ventilators. The collaboration will also see our students being equipped with essential future skills for the design, prototyping, testing and certification of Bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) ventilators, and support future industrialisation efforts through continuous professional development (CPD) in the manufacturing sector."
"The merSETA funding will be supporting 125 students across four universities in this initiative. Of great interest to the merSETA is how new support programmes and qualifications will emerge to define the support required to rapidly localise and sustain the manufacture of new products in emerging sectors of the economy," says Mr Wayne Adams, acting CEO of the merSETA.
Prof Marwala concludes: "This MoA is an indication that we are committed to the industry. It is encouraging to see the merSETA investing in the nation's development as this will translate our advances into gains for the country, particularly as we seek out ways to reverse the deindustrialisation of our economy by emphasising platforms for advanced manufacturing."
The merSETA Viro-Vent Skills Innovation Challenge consortium comprises: UJ's Process, Energy and Environmental Technology Station (UJ-PEETS), TUT´s Technology Station in Electronics (TSE), CUT´s Product Development Technology Station (PDTS) and Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM), and VUT´s Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park's, being members of the Technology Stations Network Programme implemented though the Technology Innovation Agency, a DSI initiative and supported by North West University (NWU).