University- industry partnerships vital for economic growth

Dr Owen Sotshangane
Dr Owen Sotshangane

Universitities have been urged to maximise their economic change influence, due to their ability to influence industries that they interact with in their immediate context, which in turn, influence industries in their own context.

Local universities, and other institutions of higher learning have therefore been encouraged to undertake action research, which is meant to improve the academia and consequently industries. A lecturer from Walter Sisulu University in South Africa, Dr Owen Sotshangane said a major goal of action research for industry- university partnership is to gain knowledge about their services so that each can improve and assess its own services.

Sotshangane was addressing researchers at the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) 2016/2017 research and innovation grant awarding ceremony in the capital yesterday.

He added that the benefit of this research methodology is that both the industry and university  impact on another and each contribute to the knowledge base of performing their services effectively and efficiently.

“This could only be through a systematic self-reflection of each own services from other’s perspective to provide meaningful insight into their daily services and offer valid accountability of how they can develop their services and improve them collaboratively,” he said.

This method, does not only bring about changes in companies but may also benefit the university services as well. Moreover, this he said is crucial because boundaries begin to dissolve as each realises that together they may share information regarding their practice improvement and why is it so important.

The reseacher said promotion and support of innovation as well as entrepreneurship encourages the acquisition of new skills and knowledge that both the industry and universities need for their personal and professional development.

“If both parties agree on specific objectives and speak the same language, I bet the collaboration is going to be successful,”

He spoke at length on the importance of closer partnerships as this would make collaborations work well.

Fourteen research projects were at this event awarded research grants worth P50,000, whose total value is P700,000.

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