State-of-the-art innovation hub for sustainable technology opened at NUST
A state-of-the-art multi-million dollar innovation hub that offers a conducive integrated ecosystem for sustainable technology transfer, was launched in Windhoek at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).
The High-Tech Transfer Plaza Select (HTTPS), is a result of the partnership between NUST and MTC. Essentially, the centre will primarily facilitate the creation of inventions that are set to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
The technological projects within the HTTPS would be based on cutting-edge digital technologies. Overall, the six-floor building has conference facilities, tech labs, retail space that will provide support services to students, and a taxi rank on the periphery of the building.
NUST Vice-Chancellor, Dr Erold Naomab said the centre is vital for local, regional impact and global recognition.
“It is noteworthy that technology transfer usually happens at a smaller sporadic scale within isolated technology transfer or research and innovation offices in universities or the industry. However, what is distinctively different about the HTTPS is the size, the intensity and scale at which technology transfer will happen. Therefore, HTTPS is not an office nor a building but it is an ecosystem that brings various technology actors together irrespective of size or the type of sector,” Naomab said.
Moreover, the projects to be undertaken within the HTTPS will be based on cutting-edge digital technologies such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Cyber Security, X Reality, Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Autonomous Robotics, and Edge Computing. Leveraging on a 5G Network and high-performance computing, we are looking at intelligent networking of machines, processes, and people streamed with real-time data analytics to explore untapped potential while simultaneously producing a complete creative value chain.
These technologies, termed cyber-physical systems, converge the physical and virtual environment to warrant the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The advent of 4IR is a premise that is contained in the Economic Advancement Pillar of the Harambee Prosperity Plan II. Naomab is an appointee on President Hage Geingob’s recently introduced Fourth Industrial Revolution Task Force.
The HTTPS will be the official home of MTC’s digitalization team and will house some incubator initiatives that until now have been scattered across Namibia.
“Through virtual and physical collaboration platforms this the plaza becomes a consolidated point of contact for some of Namibia’s sharpest and brightest minds to cross-pollinate ideas with local and visiting scholars, researchers, industry experts and ICT stakeholders. The idea is to bring participants from all sectors, to provide thought leadership and produce white papers around cutting edge technologies such as 5G,” Managing Director of MTC, Dr Licky Erastus, said at the launch event.
The first ever Integrated Water Resources Management Graduate Studies programme of the Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) will also be hosted at the HTTPS. The programme is funded by the Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
“This programme has come a time when the state of water resources in terms of availability and quality are a critical concerns for many SADC Member States. Climate change, resultant droughts together with domestic, agricultural and industrial demands have worsened the vulnerability of the water sector in the region. Such a challenge demands a calibre of scientists and engineers to come up with new information and technology to manage the water resources we have in a more sustainable manner,” Executive Director of SASSCAL, Dr Jane Olwoch, said at the event.
The NUST-MTC N$51 million partnership will support 13 research projects under an existing 5-year Memorandum of Understanding between the parties.