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Hlengiwe Cele 

 WRC and WERF partner for appropriate technology development

South Africa is a water-scarce country calling for innovators to prioritise solutions to ensure this resource is available for future generations.  While hosting the Watertech Summit at Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg on 18 September 2015, the South African Water Research Commission (WRC) and USA’s Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) entered into an agreement to collaborate on uplifting water technology innovation.

The agreement follows after the Department of Science and Technology and the WRC jointly launched the Wader programme in 2014 aimed at showcasing water-smart technologies for the uplifment of water service delivery in South Africa.  The programme will now grow further as it collaborates with the USA’s Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) programme, which is designed to move innovation into practice.

While speaking at the Symposium, Mr Imran Patel, Deputy Director-General at the Department of Science and Technology, said, “Collaboration and partnerships for appropriate technology development are urgently needed to address the challenges faced by South Africa’s water sector and the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality”.

South Africa will learn a lot from this partnership as LIFT accelerates water technology demand and adoption and engages the entire water sector in all phases of the innovation process. This partnership will allow an exchange of ideas on perspectives on the direction the industry is taking and high-priority technology topics. 

Dr Amit Pramanik, the WERF Interim Managing Director as well as the Director of Research, signed the agreement with the WRC CEO Mr Dhesigen Naidoo.

During the signing ceremony Mr Naidoo said, “It is important to translate research, development and innovation into real solutions and enable economic growth, improve competitiveness and ensure prosperity.  Of particular interest in this collaboration will be to see how various sectors can participate and collaborate, and how the innovation space can be transformed, including linking venture capitalists to innovators, and innovators to capital”.

Mr Naidoo further noted that true innovation demands much more than just technology development. It requires close cooperation between R&D startups, technology integrators, strategic investors and end-users, including both utilities and the key industrial sectors: energy, mining, food & beverages, agriculture and water.

South Africa stands to benefit from this partnership as it opens opportunities for entering into the global market and allow sectors to collaborate and transform the innovation space.

Article compiled by Hlengiwe Cele email: hlengiwec@wrc.org.za


Dr Amit Pramanik, WERF


From left:  Dr Amit Pramanik, WERF, Mr Henry Roman, DST and Mr Dhesigen Naidoo, WRC


LIFT Presentation
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