SA students ready to cultivate sci-tech skills in China

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Seven South African students will soon leave for China to participate in the South Africa-China Young Scientists Exchange Programme (YSEP).

YSEP is part of a five-year agreement entered into by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology to establish an exchange programme with the aim of giving young researchers an opportunity to share knowledge and develop skills.

The initiative is jointly funded by the governments of the two countries.

In a statement, the DST says YSEP will promote the development of scientists, scholars and researchers, focusing on various scientific fields, including biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, ICT systems, green technologies, the exploitation of mineral resources, and space science and astronomy.

Furthermore, the department hopes promoting the exchange of researchers between research institutes, universities and enterprises will advance research and development, and produce academic papers, new patents and innovative products.

According to the department, the majority of the successful students, selected through a call issued by the National Research Foundation, come from historically disadvantaged institutions.

The students are: Nokuthula Peace Mchunu, Durban University of Technology; Lizelle van Dyk, University of the Witwatersrand; Ndanduleni Lesley Lethole, Peace Prince Mkhonto and Winston Nxumalo from the University of Limpopo; and Wynston Ray Woodenber and Anthony Walters from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The DST states: "They will spend up to 12 months at universities across China, namely Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Wuhan Institute of Technology, Wuhan University Beijing, the Beijing General Research Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University Tongji, the National Astronomical Observatories of China and the Chinese Academy of Sciences."

The science and technology ministry will host a farewell ceremony for the students at the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria this afternoon.

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