Welcome REPS 2016

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), through the National Research Foundation (NRF) and in collaboration with various government sponsored renewable energy research projects including the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRES) at the University of Stellenbosch, is hosting the Annual National Renewable and Sustainable Energy Postgraduate Symposium (REPS2016) to be heldat the University of Fort Hare in Alice from 04 to 06 September 2016.

REPS2016 coincides with the Centenary Celebrations of the University of Fort Hare which has extended a warm invitation to all of its stakeholders to visit and join in their celebrations – students (past, present and future) and their parents; staff; research partners and other co-operating institutions; industry and commerce; science councils; local; national and foreign government; donors; the media; and other friends.

As you are aware, renewable energy occupies a critical space in the provision of energy in South Africa, as emphasised in the report entitled State of Renewable Energy in South Africa (2015). This is received prominence through the Energy Grand Challenge in the DST’s Ten-year Innovation Plan as one of the key strategic areas to fulfil the vision of leveraging South African intellectual property in creating a knowledge-based economy for the benefit of society and the economy.

The main challenges in realising the latter vision lay in ensuring that the solutions procured must not detract from protection of the environment and must advance South Africa’s climate change objectives. In addition, the pursuit of developing alternative energy technological solutions must be utilised as key instruments to realise the objectives of human capital development.

It is therefore critical to ensure a good human capital pipeline of renewable energy expertise by raising public awareness to target learners and students and encourage them to enrol in science and technology, and energy-related initiatives. This key message should profile science and technology in simple language that could be readily understood.

The DST works through the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) and the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) in providing a structured roll out of public awareness focusing on renewable energy.

Although REPS2016 is centred on Master’s and Doctoral student presentations of the renewable energy research work, an opportunity has also been created to engage with learners and educators, and lecturers as universities.

It is, therefore, our pleasure to extend an invitation for you, as an affected stakeholder, to join us at REPS2016 and to collaborate with us in creating value for your current education endeavors and the education community at large.