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South Africa: National hub in energy efficiency launched at the University of Pretoria

A national hub offering a postgraduate programme in Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management was launched at the University of Pretoria on Wednesday 10 June 2008.
SANERI, a subsidiary of CEF (Pty) Ltd, is a joint initiative of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), and the Department of Minerals & Energy (DME). The two departments developed a National Energy Research and Development Strategy as the initial agenda of SANERI to revive the knowledge base through research towards a sustainable energy sector in South Africa. SANERI is an agency that funds and supports research as well as conducts its own research where gaps exist. It identifies energy efficiency and demand side management as key research and development (R&D) themes for South Africa.

The overall aim of the initiative is to develop and enhance national capacity in Energy Efficiencty (including fuel switching to renewable technologies) and Demand Side Management in support of accelerated and share economic growth within the bounds of environmental, social and economic sustainability.

SANERI invited the universities across South Africa to bid for the grant funding for the establishment of a hub for a Postgraduate Programme in Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management to meet SANERI’s human capital development objectives in one of its thematic research areas as identified in the Energy Research and Development Strategy.

Six institutions submitted proposals to host the programme’s Hub. The relevant department within the university of Pretoria that submitted a proposal is the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering. It is located in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology.

The University of Pretoria was chosen by the SANERI Board of Directors as a winning institution to host the Hub. The specific objectives of the programme are threefold, namely: to build human resources capacity; to deepen knowledge; and to stimulate innovation and entreprise in the field of Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management.

The deal will go on for five years. It involves about R15-million over five years (at R3-million per annum). Additional funding, in the form of bursaries to students, will also be available. As a National Hub, the University of Pretoria is expected to do, among others, the following:

Establish, develop and manage a National Hub and its spokes for the Postgraduate Programme in Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management. This programme will steer postgraduate teaching and research in energy efficiency and demand side management in the country. Establish and coordinate a postgraduate Masters and Doctoral Programme which associated research projects to achieve a step change in the knowledge base for energy efficiency and demand side management in the country. Commission, undertake, sub-contract and manage teaching and research and market transformation projects in cooperation with their chosen partners. Develop, manage and present postgraduate research and teaching programmes which will be guided by relevant policy documents as well as priorities that might from time to time be set by SANERI and its advisory bodies. Develop and manage a fully integrated cross-cutting post-graduate training programme that will equip social and natural scientists, engineers, economists and other professionals to contribute towards the efficient use of energy. Identify, prioritise and conduct appropriate research studies relating to energy efficiency and demand side management appropriate for the South African social and market conditions.

Renewal will be negotiated during the fourth year of the programme and it depends on continued relevance of the programme to government objectives, performance of the institution against agreed milestones and availability of funding. The University of Pretoria has already brought in the Tshwane University of Technology as a partner with which it would collaborate on this project.

Additional information: University of Pretoria
News date: 10/06/2008

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