CoMSIRU joins Africa’s experts in engineering education and research
The Concrete Materials and Structural Integrity Research Unit (CoMSIRU) at the University of Cape Town was invited to partake in a key event on the African continent, the ISEE Africa: Innovation, Science, Engineering and Education.
The conference brings together experts and change-drivers from the fields of technology, government, and academia. More than one hundred participants gathered in Kenya’s capital Nairobi from 30 January to 1 February 2019.
On the agenda were topics such as training Africa’s engineers of tomorrow, developing local and innovative building materials, and the status of local research. Participants also grappled with complex challenges, such as language barriers in engineering research, knowledge transfer in commercial engineering, and gender issues in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
CoMSIRU’s Emeritus Professor Mark Alexander and CoMSIRU graduate Ms Gladwell Nganga contributed to the discourse with their presentation, “Research, research networking, and the role of Africa in the international research community”. They shared CoMSIRU’s experiences and insights into conducting compelling research, training future researchers and engineers, and nurturing strong bonds between academia and industry.
Several more former CoMSIRU scholars attended the conference, providing a wonderful opportunity to catch up with colleagues. Ms Nganga who presented with Prof. Alexander now works for the Kenyan government, Dr Ines Leana Tchetgnia Ngassam is a researcher in Germany, and Mr Olukayode Alao pursues his professional career in Italy.
The ISEE Africa Conference was hosted by Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, BAM) and sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation. Our personal acknowledgments go to Dr Wolfram Schmidt of BAM for making the conference possible.