German applied research organisation Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has partnered with Stellenbosch University (SU) to address water, energy and food security challenges in Southern Africa.
The organisations’ joint platform is called Fraunhofer Innovation Platform (FIP) and involves four Fraunhofer institutes, as well as SU’s engineering, science and agrisciences faculties.
The four Fraunhofer institutes involved are interfacial engineering and biotechnology; optronics, system technologies and image exploitation; solar energy systems; and surface engineering and thin films.
Fraunhofer president Professor Reimund Neugebauer said the platform is unique in that so many institutes are involved, all of which have a history of delivering projects in international cooperation.
The platform will also cooperate with the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance – one of the largest energy research networks in Europe – and all partners are active members of the Fraunhofer Water Systems Alliance.
The FIP will address the entire spectrum of water and energy security challenges in the region, from academic research to technology development, transfer and implementation.
SU Water Institute director Professor Gideon Wolfaardt will coordinate the FIP as interim director.
“With this large pool of scientists, engineers and technicians combining expertise from different fields, the FIP has great potential for knowledge transfer and capacity building in the region,” said SU science faculty dean Professor Louise Warnich.