Hosting of SAIEE-EECE Research Day
The SAIEE-EECE Research day event was recently held at the Smart Grid Centre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN’s) Westville campus. The event was a joint initiative between the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) and the Discipline of Electrical, Electronic Engineering and Computer Engineering (EECE) from the School of Engineering at UKZN.
Dr Andrew Swanson of EECE and Gill Nortier of SAIEE co-ordinated the event. The objective of hosting such an event was to showcase the type of research work carried out in EECE to industry, relevant partners and potential postgraduate students.
Swanson welcomed the attendees, followed by Professor Randhir Rawatlal who gave an insightful view of the Research work carried out in the School of Engineering. Rawatlal, the Academic Leader for Research at the School of Engineering said, ‘Hosting such events is imperative to bridge the gap between industry and academic’.
The tour of Smart Grid proved to be informative for both academia and industry.
Presenters included academics from the EECE who presented on the research work carried out in computer engineering, power engineering, communications, smart grid research and superconductivity. Departmental member, Mr Trevor Lorimer presented his research work on Power Line Inspection Robot. The project is run in collaboration with Eskom and recently received funding from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs. Lorimer presented a brief history of the inspection robot development, as well as its state of readiness for industrial use.
In addition, EECE managed to get UKZN InQubate Director Mrs Suvina Singh who presented on the importance of protecting Intellectual Property (IP) arising from research through patents and industrial designs. She stressed that patent applications must be filed before publication of the research, as publication destroys the possibility of obtaining patent protection. Singh also explained that researchers listed as inventors on patents would receive a share of the revenues on sale or upon licensing of such patents. In addition, researchers that were entrepreneurially inclined could also participate in startup companies based on their IP.
The 85 attendees included guests from Eskom, Ethekwini Electricity, DGI Consulting, Aurecon South Africa, Transnet Group Capital, SMEC South Africa, Bosch and ZML Africa.
Mr Jay Kalichuran, a Senior Manager at eThekwini Electricity said: ‘The event provided an opportunity for academics looking for research topics, industry seeking innovation and solutions for the future and UKZN providing the platform and guidance.’