The CSIR and the University of Pretoria (UP) have signed an agreement to create an Aeronautics Chair at the university to strengthen research and postgraduate course work in aeronautics.
Professor Josua Meyer, head of the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at UP said the purpose of the Chair at UP is to conduct research in aeronautics and to support and develop a new generation of scholars in the field of aeronautics. The CSIR will also be creating opportunities for UP final year design and postgraduate students to work on research projects. The creation of the Aeronautics Chair is expected to contribute to better alignment of academic research and science with the needs and opportunities of the aerospace industry.
The Chair will be led by the CSIR’s Professor Laurent Dala, a specialist in the aerospace field. An advisory committee from the university’s Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering will oversee the execution of the objectives of the agreement.
“The ability of any country to innovate is achieved through nurturing fine minds in our universities, in our science councils and in our industries,” said Dr Kaven Naidoo, manager of aeronautic systems at the CSIR.
“The CSIR has a sound track record and strong capabilities in aerospace. We must have the ability to access the best and brightest minds, knowledge and expertise from anywhere in the world. I want to acknowledge Professor Dala, a globally recognised leader in his field, as we are privileged to have him as a critical agent for innovation in aerospace in South Africa and as driver of this five year initiative,” Naidoo said.
“The Chair will be based on multi and cross-disciplinary concepts and will support not only the development of the South African aerospace industry, but also that of other countries in Africa by performing cutting edge, leading research and development and stimulating innovation in this field,” said Professor Sunil Maharaj, dean of engineering at UP.