“It was a fantastic opportunity with a buzz of activities and interaction,” says Prof Willie Perold (Vice-Dean: Research and Industry Liaison) about the Faculty of Engineering’s first Open Day for Industry that took place on 30 November 2018. This initiative was hosted in collaboration with the Faculty of Science and took the form of a Research Showcase. Departments of the two Faculties exhibited posters of their latest research projects at STIAS in Stellenbosch. From 16:00 to 18:00 industry partners could view the posters and chat to researchers about their work. This was followed by a cocktail and networking session.
Prof Perold adds: “The Faculty of Science presents this Open Day annually and this is the first time our Faculty has participated. We are thrilled that we could co-host it this year. We are very satisfied with the turnout. It has certainly met our expectations to improve relationships with industry partners. I think this day will yield more results and advantages than what we initially expected, because it was presented by two faculties instead of only one.
“There was also a wonderful and unexpected spin-off,” Prof Perold explains. “The invitation sparked an interest at Exxaro. The company sent a whole delegation to the Open Day. In order to get more out of their visit, Exxaro requested a pre-visit to the Faculty which included discussions with individual departments and a tour of some of the Faculty of Engineering’s facilities.”
At the function, the Faculty of Engineering launched its attractive and useful Research Finder, a glossy publication containing information on research projects in the Faculty as well as contact details of researchers.
Left: Prof Wikus van Niekerk (Dean: Faculty of Engineering) and Prof Louise Warnich (Dean: Faculty of Science) welcoming industry partners.
Right: Discussions and networking between industry partners and academics/researchers were high on the agenda at the Research Showcase.