Cutting-edge research and development will be on display in Cape Town next week as the Department of Science and Technology (DST) opens an exhibition at Iziko Museum in Cape Town on Tuesday, 9 July, giving the public a glimpse of the value of science in daily life.

 

From space weather to nanosatellites, bio-innovation and support for the taxi industry, more than 10 private and public organisations supported by the Department and its entities will showcase impressive projects.  The exhibition is a demonstration of how the South African science, technology and innovation sector is growing, and how it aims to increase the country's economic competitiveness, create employment, and improve the quality of life of all citizens.

 

The exhibition is a build-up to the Department's Budget Vote, which will be delivered by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology in the National Assembly at 16:30 on 9 July.

 

Among the DST entities showcasing initiatives will be the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), which supports technological innovation in the country, focusing on technology development from proof of concept to the pre-commercialisation stage.

 

Sawubona Mycelium, one of the TIA's beneficiaries, is a biotechnology company that produces high-value products through mushroom mycelium, giving rise to new beginnings for many inspired mushroom cultivators.  With extensive experience in cultivating oyster mushrooms, the company is now looking to commercialise the production of high-value extracts from different mushrooms using fermentation technology.

 

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), another of the exhibitors, will display some of the many products developed through its Biomanufacturing Industry Development Centre, an initiative to provide technical product and process development support to SMMEs in the biomanufacturing sector.

 

The CSIR will also showcase the Green Book, a new online tool to assist local government with the planning and design of climate-resilient settlements, through the provision of information of a depth and scale unprecedented in South Africa.

 

Research findings incorporated into the Green Book include the most detailed projections of future climate change yet available for the country; new models to quantify the exposure of South African settlements to various hazards, including drought and coastal flooding; a vulnerability assessment framework for all 213 local municipalities and 1 637 settlements across South Africa; and a population potential growth model to forecast settlement growth across the country.

The public will also get to learn about Africa's most advanced nanosatellite to date, ZACube-2. Developed by students from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the mini-satellite is currently orbiting Earth, monitoring natural and man-made disasters in real time.  The project, managed by the South African National Space Agency, supports Operation Phakisa by providing high-frequency data exchange communication systems for the maritime industry.

 

The country's commitment to modernise sectors of the economy has received a further boost through the support provided by the DST to Quicloc8, a technology company proudly owned by young black entrepreneur Mbavhalelo Mabogo.

 

Quicloc8 has developed a suite of technologies to support the taxi industry by enabling owners to track their vehicles, trips, routes and passenger head counts in real time via their mobile phones. The company has established partnerships with taxi associations in the Western and Eastern Cape, and currently employs 12 graduates from colleges and universities of technology.

 

The exhibition will showcase a variety of other products, some of which have reached the commercialisation stage, from the Department's indigenous knowledge systems and grassroots innovation initiatives, among others.  The exhibition will be open to the public at no charge.