Stellenbosch University and BMW launch new research space

The newly founded partnership between Stellenbosch University (SU) and the BMW Group South Africa, specifically the BMW IT Hub, known as the ZA Hub, has progressed to the next phase. The BMW IT Hub research space, located at the Faculty of Engineering (in the Mechanical and Mechatronic Building), was officially launched on Tuesday, 26 July 2022.

Different stakeholders from BMW, SU researchers, staff members, and current BMW-sponsored postgraduate students attended the launch. The new research space creates an environment that fosters innovation and the transfer of technical knowledge.

The launch of the BMW IT Hub research space follows the recent partnership between SU and the BMW IT Hub that involves an agreement of five years that started in 2022 with ten Master’s students. The initiative aims to develop a homegrown IT talent pipeline for the company by promoting skills in artificial intelligence and data analysis and ultimately establishing a group of talented students that will support BMW in growing and maintaining software in the scope of their IT business.

Prof Wikus van Niekerk, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, warmly welcomed the guests and reminisced about the utilisation of the newly renovated floor space from the past when BEng students conducted studies on ramjets. From now on, BMW-sponsored postgraduate students have a designated area to conduct research and hold discussions and collaborations to create valuable expertise.

Mr Klaus von der Osten-Sacken, Director of Digital and Global Solutions at BMW Group South Africa, emphasised the value of long-term collaborative business relationships, which enhances productivity and results by contributing diverse skillsets to a common cause. He concluded that he looks forward to the longstanding partnership with the university.

Prof Corne Schutte, Chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering and project leader, gave special thanks to Dr Andreas Hees, Head of Business Management at BMW Group ZA Hub South Africa. Dr Hees initiated the partnership due to his commitment and love for South Africa. Prof Schutte also thanked BMW for creating a space that envisioned the future for new thought leaders and impactful research to emerge.

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Cover photograph: The event was attended by Prof Deresh Ramjugernath (Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching), Prof Wikus van Niekerk (Dean, Faculty of Engineering), Prof Corne Schutte (Chair, Department of Industrial Engineering) and Mr Klaus von der Osten-Sacken (Director of Digital and Global Solutions at BMW Group South Africa).

Image credit: Anton Jordaan