New research programme in Electronic Defence through South Africa / Saudi Arabia partnership with University of Pretoria

Posted on September 28, 2012

CSIR and its Saudi Arabian partner, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), have taken the next step in their bi-national initiative to enhance engineering research capabilities in Radar and Electronic Defence by establishing a new research program at the University of Pretoria (UP) in the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering.  This initiative also includes the creation of a bi-national research cluster and several Human Capital Development (HCD) programmes at South African and Saudi Arabian universities.

This partnership was announced by André Nepgen, Executive Director for the CSIR’s operating unit for Defence, Peace, Safety and Security (DPSS) on Thursday, 20 September at the biennial Africa Aerospace and Defence 2012 Exhibition at the Waterkloof Airforce Base, Pretoria. 

The mission of the Program for Electronic Defence Research (PEDR) is to perform research and innovate at the forefront in the field of Electronic Defence (ED), to source and supervise postgraduate students in this research field, to produce published outputs in international journals and conference proceedings, and to create new knowledge to the benefit of the people of South Africa and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Nepgen said: “The program will lead to growth of the technological depth and scope in this research field.  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”.

Dr Sultan Almorqi, Director of the Advanced Sensors and Electronic Defence (ASED) a centre of KACST remarked: “KACST strongly supports this research collaboration since it is well aligned with the national strategic goals of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

The new research program will not only perform research in the field of ED, but also aid CSIR and KACST with HCD through Masters and Doctoral student supervision. Furthermore, it will contribute to the creation of new knowledge in a field that is under-subscribed in terms of skills in both countries.  These skills will be valuable to DPSS, ASED and their stakeholders.

The Dean of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology at the University of Pretoria, Prof Roelf Sandenbergh indicated that UP is fully committed to the success of the new research program and intends to contribute to the research efforts of the cluster through the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering. UP’s School of Engineering is rated to be within the top 1% in the world.

Prof. Sunil Maharaj, Head in the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering remarked that their vision is to be a research intensive, internationally renowned department and that they are honoured to be part of this partnership as it will greatly assist in their aspirations and vision.

- Author Prof BT Maharaj

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