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South Africa and Saudi Arabia Launch Research Programme

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South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its Saudi Arabian partner, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), have established a new research programme for radar and electronic defence at the University of Pretoria, CSIR announced last week.

Called the programme for electronic defence research, it is aimed at building on the two organisations’ bi-national initiative to grow both countries’ engineering research capabilities.

It includes the creation of a bi-national research cluster and several human capital development programmes at universities in both countries.

“The programme will lead to growth of the technological depth and scope in this research field,” executive director for the CSIR’s operating unit for defence, peace, safety and security, André Negen, said at the announcement of the programme at the Africa Aerospace and Defence 2012 exhibition in Pretoria.

“This is of great importance to both the CSIR and KACST and through our strategic partnership will grow an agile, effective and robust technical capability that contributes to the establishment of knowledge economies.”

The programme’s main functions will be to perform research and innovate in the electronic defence field, source and supervise postgraduate students and publish progress in international journals, among others.

It will also assist in the creation of new knowledge in a field which is under- subscribed in terms of skills in both countries, according to the CSIR.

The University of Pretoria (UP) has pledged its full support and indicated its readiness for the programme.

“UP’s School of Engineering is rated to be within the top 1% in the world,” said the dean of engineering, built environment and information technology, Roelf Sandenbergh.

The university said its vision is to be a research-intensive, internationally renowned department.

The first phase in the establishment of the bi-national research cluster took place in 2011 with the development and initiation of a Master’s programme in radar and electronic defence with the support of the South African Radar Interest Group and in collaboration with the University of Cape Town.

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