The ARUA Centre of Excellence in Materials, Energy and Nanotechnology (CoE-MEN) is hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand, and also includes the Universities of Pretoria, Nairobi and Ghana. The proposed research is on the development of materials and new technologies to benefit Africa.
There will be a range of research focusses, from fundamental to prototype devices, which should identify and develop new opportunities in an African context, e.g. minerals beneficiation, advanced manufacturing, off-grid energy technologies, housing and materials recycling. The ARUA CoE-MEN will become a hub for materials science and engineering in Africa, as well as the ideal environment in which to build research capacity and human capacity for Africa. The new ARUA CoE is positioning itself to be a centre for training African students and academics and to undertake relevant and innovative research, which will help to solve some of Africa’s problems. Taking the African response to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into account (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/), ARUA Nan-Mat will be contributing to Goal 3, Good Health and Well-being with projects that are aimed at improving medical implants, as well as to Goal 4, Quality Education, because one major focus of the CoE is to improve education, and to prepare better-equipped graduates. The Centre will also help with Goal 5, Gender Equality and Goal 10, Reduced Inequalities by closing gender and income gaps and being open to everyone interested in seeking a successful career in materials science.
It is supposed to act as a hub for small to medium size enterprises, which are so crucial in stabilizing the economy in many African countries. In the long run the project should then make major contributions to Goal 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth; Goal 7, Affordable and clean energy; Goal 9, Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, as well as and Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities. The CoE will seek to develop technologies in a local African context, and aim at robust, sustainable and affordable technologies to promote Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production. Of course several different expertises are needed to run the various projects, and this is where Goal 17, Partnerships for the Goals comes into play. Once different products have been developed (e.g. alloys, processing routes…), then more partnerships (many already identified) will be needed for the production and testing, and this could help to build partnerships with small businesses and industrial partners.
The Director of the ARUA CoE-NEM* is Prof. Lesley Cornish, the Deputy Director is Prof. Alex Quandt, and the Research Manager is Ms Jacqui Jacobs. Any of these can be contacted for information and queries:
Prof. Lesley Cornish
Professor of Physical Metallurgy
+27 (0)11 717 6876
Prof. Alex Quandt
Professor of Physics
+27 (0)11 717 6959
Ms Jacqui Jacobs
+27 (0)11 717 6873
DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, WITS, South Africa, 2050