Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
City and Universities Recommit themselves to Collaboration

​University Leadership together with eThekwini -

Senior officials at the networking session.

As the sun came up on Friday morning on the internationally acclaimed Durban beachfront promenade, university leadership together with City mothers and fathers began their day with an important breakfast meeting at the Sun Towers executive boardroom, overlooking the Indian Ocean. Against this breath-taking setting and with the background drones of engines being tested for the weekend’s Top Gear festival, the energy and enthusiasm of the leadership was remarkable. The Deputy Mayor, Speaker of Council and other EXCO members across party political lines spent the morning critically reflecting with the Vice Chancellors / Deputy Vice Chancellors from the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) and the University of South African (UNISA) on progress made on their 30 month journey of collaboration. Whilst they all sung praises for the MILE-led partnership that delivered numerous outputs over the last thirty months from organising joint seminars, securing officials to serve as external moderators, student placement, a guest lecture programme to inspire students and other exciting developments arising from the Memorandum of Agreement signed by all parties, there was consensus that this was only the beginning.
 
What was envisaged was to ramp up the collaboration towards recognising the role aof the universities in the local economy and to explore how the City could provide more support to the universities by creating an enabling environment that will support university students. Exciting ideas such as the development of a dedicated student precinct was also mooted.
 
In terms of research, there was agreement to pursue at least five long term (ten – twenty year) research projects, which could be managed by the universities and the soon to be established City Planning Commission. The areas identified included water security, health, energy, ICT and social infrastructure. There was also an in-principle commitment by the City to set aside some seeding-funding for this research to be matched by other funders. So watch this space for details once finalised by the City’s Executive Committee.
 
If you are an academic in Durban, or working in the research environment and would like more details on this exciting initiative, please contact Collin Pillay, on Collin.Pillay3@durban.gov.za
 

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