Meraka appoints head

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Laurens Cloete has been appointed executive director of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Meraka Institute.

The council says the appointment was made following an extensive recruitment process during which both external and internal candidates were considered.

“Laurens has been involved in a number of national strategic processes, and in particular, played a significant role in the development of the ICT R&D and Innovation Strategy of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).”

It explains that Meraka and the DST are currently finalising an ICT R&D and Innovation Implementation Roadmap aimed at increasing public and private sector investment in ICT R&D, and co-ordinating the relevant role-players' efforts.

ICT for development

“Laurens joined the CSIR as a bursar in 1991 in the then division for microelectronics and communication technology, and was awarded two patents relating to RF identification systems.”

The new executive director moved through the ranks to become first a project manager, later a programme manager, and then acting executive director of the CSIR Meraka Institute in 2010.

Former executive director Kagiso Chikane took up a different path within the organisation, says the council.

Laurens obtained a Master's degree in electronic engineering (microelectronics) from the University of Pretoria in 1993, according to the CSIR.

“He serves on a number of boards and advisory structures, including the board of the SoftStartBTI incubator and the University of Pretoria Department of Computer Science advisory panel.”

Cloete says all Meraka's work can, at some level, be seen as ICT for development and it's just the time-scales and pathways that differ.

“At the Centre for High Performance Computing, we are building and operating supercomputers that enable the South African science community with the latest tools, and enhance the competitiveness of our industry.

“ICT is a key enabler of all the six research impact areas, the envisaged flagship projects and the knowledge economy.”

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