Tshwane, universities unite to boost service delivery

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The City of Tshwane has joined forces with the University of Pretoria (UP), Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the University of SA (UNISA) to come up with innovative and tech-driven solutions to address service delivery issues in the city.

The news was announced at the recently held Inter-University Innovation Challenge, a collaborative effort between the city, the Innovation Hub, the three universities, TuksNovation and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).

In a statement, the city notes suitable solutions that come out of the partnership will be incubated in the various programmes offered by collaboration partners, be piloted in a real city environment, improved on where there are gaps, and eventually commercialised.

The city adds the partnership is part of an overall goal to position Tshwane as “Africa’s innovation capital”.

“With technology and innovation being at the forefront of development, it is imperative that the city embraces the well of resources at its disposal, notably the academic institutions, the Department of Science and Innovation, TIA, CSIR, the National Research Foundation, the Innovation Hub, and other research, development and innovation bodies and agencies.”

The Inter-University Innovation Challenge is a platform for innovators at universities to come up with possible solutions to assist the city to overcome service delivery challenges.

Further, it is meant to capacitate registered students at UP, TUT and UNISA to think outside the box, generate and implement innovative solutions that can solve some of the city’s most pressing challenges.

“This event is a milestone in improving service delivery through innovation and collaborative partnerships, says Isak Pietersen, member of the mayoral committee for economic development and spatial planning.

“It is through these partnerships that we can work jointly to exchange ideas and develop new knowledge that can make us a more efficient metro and [help us find] sustainable solutions to real-life challenges such as water issues in Hammanskraal, revenue collection and youth unemployment, to name a few.”

Professor Alex Antonites, UP’s head of the Department of Business Management and a director at TuksNovation, adds: “Universities are in many ways complex organisations and sometimes work in silos because of their mandate.

“They have to produce cutting-edge research and publish in order to get subsidies and international recognition and ranking, offer quality-driven teaching and learning opportunities, and engage with their communities via academic citizenship initiatives. Initiatives like the Innovation Challenge will enhance collaboration and touch upon all three strategic drivers of universities – research, teaching and academic citizenship – as partners in the innovation ecosystem.”

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