The utility of university-industry partnerships : a case study of the University of Cape Town (UCT) and SASOL

Cele, Mlungisi B. Gabriel
Mouton, Johann
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Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In South Africa few systematic studies have been done on university-industry partnerships. This research investigated the evolution of the University of Cape Town (UCT) and SASOL partnership involving heterogeneous catalysis. As part of this investigation, I analysed the driving force and sought to determine the motivations and benefits that UCT and SASOL have since accrued as a result of their partnership. I also analysed knowledge transmission or technology transfer processes such as the hiring of graduates, intellectual property etc. In light of all of these I sought to draw lessons that could be learnt from UCT-SASOL partnership for future purpose. I followed four themes or sections in order to situate the study. These were, (a) the socio-economic context (global and knowledge economy, innovation, knowledge society etc.), the changing modes of knowledge production ("Mode 2") and the changing ways of interactions among stakeholders industry, university and government (Triple Helix). The key argument here is that the university industry partnership cannot be seen as an independent development, but is interrelated or partly the consequence of changes in the socio-economic, science, technology and higher education fields, (b) The driving force behind the partnership, (c) motivations, benefits, and (d) knowledge or technology transfer/transmission processes. I used the case study research design. I conducted interviews with the UCT Chemical Engineering Department, UCT Centre for Research and Innovation and SASOL officials. I collected several documents related to the study and also visited the laboratories in which UCT-SASOL partnership research activities were happening. Some of the findings of the study include the following. The partnership demonstrates the significant role of an individual academic, who steered transformation in terms of research activities and culture in the Chemical Engineering Department. The legacy of the individual academic's strong personality and commitment to research is evident and continues to stimulate high levels of research interest and teamwork among staff members which is characteristic of this department. A strong link is maintained between the basic disciplinary "Mode 1" teaching and research on the one hand and the multidisciplinary "Mode 2" applied and strategic research and training on the other: This is evident in the strong emphasis on the solid undergraduate disciplinary education as a basis for a high quality multidisciplinary postgraduate education. All staff members are involved in both teaching and research. A strong link is maintained between academic, research and postgraduate activities: The department utilizes surpluses generated through industrial-oriented research to cross-subsidize the academic and postgraduate activities.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar is weinig sistemiese studies in Suid-Afrika reeds uitgevoer oor universiteit-industrie samewerking. Hierdie studie ondersoek die ontwikkeling van 'n vennootskap tussen die Universiteit van Kaapstad (UK) en SASOL wat heterogene katalise insluit. Ek analiseer in hierdie studie die dryfkrag van die vennootskap, en probeer die motivering en voordele bepaal wat beide die UK en SASOL toegekom het as deel van hulle vennootskap. Ek analiseer ook die oordrag van kennis of oordrag van tegnologiese prosesse, die aanstelling van graduandi, intellektuele eiendom, ens. Ek probeer op grond hiervan lesse van die UK-SASOL vennootskap uitlig vir toekomstige doeleindes. Ek het vier temas of afdelings gebruik om hierdie studie te vestig. Dit is, (a) die sosio-ekonomiese konteks (globale en kennis ekonomie,innovasie, kennis samelewing ens.), die veranderende modus van kennis produksie ("Modus 2") en die veranderende wyses van interaksie tussen belanghebbendes - industrie, universiteit en regering (Triple Helix). Die sleutel argument hier is dat die universiteitindustrie vennootskap nie gesien kan word as 'n onafhanklike ontwikkeling, maar dat dit verband hou met of deel is van die gevolge van die veranderinge in die sosio-ekonomiese, wetenskap, tegnologie en hoer onderwys arenas; (b) die dryfkrag agter die vennootskap; (c) motivering en voordele; en (d) die oordrag van kennis of tegnologie/oordrag van prosesse. Ek gebruik die gevallestudie metodologie in hierdie studie. Ek het onderhoude gevoer met die UK Chemiese Ingenieurswese Departement, die UK Sentrum vir Navorsing en Innovasie, asook die SASOL betrokkenes. Ek het die projekdokumentasie versamel en het ook die laboratoriums besoek waarin die navorsingsaktiwiteite van die UK-SASOL vennootskap plaas vind. Die bevindinge van hierdie sluit dus die volgende in. Die vennootskap demonstreer die belangrike rol van 'n individuele akademikus wat transformasie bewerkstellig het in terme van navorsingsaktiwiteite en die kultuur in die Chemiese Ingenieurswese Departement. Die nalatenskap van die individuele akademikus se sterk persoonlikheid en toewyding tot navorsing is duidelik en stimuleer steeds hoe vlakke van belangstelling in die navorsing en spanwerk in die departement. Dit is ook een van die kenmerke van hierdie departement. Daar is 'n sterk skakel gehandhaaf tussen die basiese dissiplinere "Modus 1" onderrig en navorsing aan die een kant, en die multidissiplinere "Modus 2" toegepaste en strategiese navorsing en onderrig aan die ander kant. Dit is duidelik in die sterk kleim wat gele word op die stewige voorgraadse dissiplinere onderrig as 'n basis vir 'n hoe kwaliteit multidissiplinere nagraadse onderrig. Alle personeel is betrokke by beide onderrig en navorsing. 'n Sterk skakel is behou tussen akademiese, navorsings- en nagraadse aktiwiteite: die departement gebruik die oorskotte van industrieverwante navorsing om akademiese en nagraadse aktiwiteite te kruissubsideer.
116 leaves single sided printed, preliminary pages i-viii and numbered pages 1-106. Includes bibliography.
Scanned using a Hp Scanjet 8250 Scanner to pdf format (OCR).
Thesis (MPhil (Sociology)--University of Stellenbosch, 2003.
Dissertations -- Sociology and social anthropology, University-industry partnerships, Technology transfer, University of Cape Town -- Research, Sasol (Firm) -- Research, Technological innovations -- Economic aspects -- South Africa -- Case studies, Research -- Economic aspects -- South Africa -- Case studies, Business and education -- South Africa -- Case studies, Theses -- Sociology and social anthropology