CSIR and UP strengthen ties

Posted on July 20, 2018

The University of Pretoria’s (UP) Post Graduate Scholarship Office recently hosted a meeting with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and UP academic staff at the Centre for Artificial Intelligence (CAIR), to explore new initiatives and practicalities around bursaries administered by the CSIR.

CAIR offers postgraduate scholarships funded by the Department of Science and Technology, as part of the ICT Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap implementation. Advances in ICT, supported by the RDI Roadmap aim to guide the country to a state of digital advantage that will strengthen economic competitiveness and enable an enhanced quality of life for all South Africans. The scholarships are a part of a broader Postgraduate Bursary Programme which is managed by the CSIR.

UP is the largest recipient of all South African institutions of these CSIR postgraduate bursary awards.

Dr Paul Motalane, Manager: Learning and Development, CSIR Human Capital explained that the CSIR’s key goal in funding students is  to develop an appropriately qualified pool of high-end skills in Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation for the country. “The CSIR Postgraduate Bursary Programme is aimed at building priority and scarce skills that are aligned with the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Manufacturing, Bio-economy and ICT strategies,’  he said.

He explained that this postgraduate bursary programme was of strategic benefit to the CSIR as well as to the entire National System of Innovation.

Meanwhile, CAIR has three nodes. The Philosophy node is headed by Prof Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem, and it conducts research in Knowledge Representation and  Reasoning  in the fields of  Formal Logic; Ethics of Artificial Intelligence; Formal Ethics and Epistemology; Philosophy of Science; and Philosophy of Mind and Artificial Intelligence.

The Statistics node, headed by Dr Alta de Waal conducts research on probabilistic graphical models – specifically, Bayesian network applications and Natural Language Processing (NLP)  and Understanding (NLU).  

The Informatics node, headed by Prof Aurona Gerber conducts research in applied data science, which ensures that business requirements are satisfied during the implementation of data science applications. CAIR UP-Informatics research includes the integration of data science capabilities within organisations, as well as research in applied computational ontologies.




- Author Myan Subrayan

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