Wits-TUB Urban Lab Summer School 2018

Below you can read about exciting projects and programmes that are funded by the DAAD in South Africa. These include graduate schools between universities in South Africa and Germany, In-Region scholarships at certain centres and research units at South African universities, German-African Centres of Excellence that are active in South Africa, and many more!

Graduate Schools

Wits-TUB Urban Lab

The Wits-TUB Urban Lab, launched in the context of a cooperation between the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and the Technical University of Berlin, has been training students and doctoral candidates in development approaches towards the sustainability of large urban areas since its inception in 2016.

The bilateral graduate school, based at the University of the Witwatersrand, is funded by the DAAD programme, Bilateral SDG Graduate Schools, in which 6 other graduate schools worldwide are also funded. The programme, launched in 2016 in response to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda in which 17 Sustainable Development Goals are stipulated and funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, seeks to establish and expand key structures at universities in developing countries with the goal of transforming these universities into driving forces for sustainable development, both locally and globally.

A total of 41 Master and 6 PhD scholarships have been awarded to South Africans and other African Nationals for study and research at the Wits-TUB Urban Lab since the inception of the programme.  A further component of the project are the annual summer schools, hosted in Berlin in 2017 and in Johannesburg in 2018, that promote the international collaboration of African and European students on projects surrounding socioeconomic and structural transformation issues in the urban field over the course of one week. This allows the students to catch a glimpse of what life is like in the partner university’s city and to acknowledge that, in spite of different contexts, the problems in urban areas are similar.

Following several curriculum workshops in close collaboration with the Habitat Unit at TU Berlin, the Wits-TUB Urban Lab has implemented curriculum reform at the University of the Witwatersrand. This has resulted in the restructuring of its interdisciplinary Master degrees into various fields under a Master of Urban Studies, and conceptualisation of a new field, namely the Master of Urban Studies in Urban Management, and the further enhancement of the PhD programme. The School of Architecture and Planning, under which the Wits-TUB Urban Lab falls, further benefits from staff exchanges from other African countries and the Habitat Unit at TU Berlin, Germany thanks to the cooperation funded by the DAAD. The partnership also makes field trips to other African countries and Germany possible for the PhD scholarship holders, further promoting transnational and transdisciplinary approaches and solutions for problems facing urban areas today.

The Wits-TUB Urban Lab is actively establishing partnerships with other organisations in urban and sustainability fields and procuring internships and placements at various organisations all over Africa for its students. In 2019, the graduate school looks forward to the launch of their new Master degree, the upcoming summer school at TU Berlin and the application process for the 2020 scholarships. The DAAD Information Centre Johannesburg is committed to assisting the Wits-TUB Urban Lab with the marketing of its scholarships and degrees. Be sure to follow our social media and keep a close eye on our website for more on this exciting project between Europe and Africa.

University Cooperation

HEdIS – Hub for Education on ICT for Sustainability

HEdIS Summer School 2018

The collaborative and research education hub “HEdIS” that seeks to bring together the practical and research orientated aspects of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) for supporting South Africa's sustainability efforts, was launched at Nelson Mandela University (NMU). The Hub for Education on ICT for Sustainability is a collaborative project of Nelson Mandela University, in Port Elizabeth, the University of Cape Town and Carl von Ossietzky University, in Oldenburg, that will run through the South African universities’ computing science departments over four years.

The project is based on a well-established and long-standing partnership between the two South African universities involving numerous faculties and schools, tapping into their expertise as comprehensive universities with strong links to the entire Sub-Saharan region. Carl von Ossietzky University is an internationally recognized university from the Global North with a long-standing track record in sustainability research, teaching and community engagement.

At NMU, the Hub will be established and run at the Department of Computing Sciences, getting its full academic and infrastructural support. The HEdIS, primarily funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), will explore six major sustainability topics for research-oriented as well as practice-related teaching that have specific regard to the South African context. These include Water Management, Energy Efficiency, Waste Management, Sustainable Mobility, Education on Sustainability and Sustainability Entrepreneurship.

Within the project runtime, teaching modules for the above-mentioned themes will be developed and each topic supplied with courses and course related offers for the students. In addition to the ultimate extension of existing study programmes at NMU and UCT for students, the project will address vocational training activities for company participants. A number of activities are lined up and will take place over the project’s four-year timeframe, including workshops, summer schools and overall project management. German and South African researchers, as well as key business partners, will engage in planned activities.

ICT students and other participants elected by networked industry partners will be chosen to attend the summer schools, getting an opportunity to not only improve their competencies in the specific topic, but be afforded exposure to a global network of educators, researchers, innovators, industry experts and academics.

The project activities are structured into module development cycles (MODECs). Each MODEC has a duration of one year and aims to develop two teaching modules. With each iteration, two new teaching modules will be developed. Within the project duration, four MODECs will be performed, which totals the development of up to eight teaching modules.

In the steering group meetings, the module topics will be planned and decided within the specified six themes of ICT for sustainability. In the frame of the workshops, curricula for previously identified existing modules will be developed. ICT modules developed in the DASIK project will be integrated into the module development to ensure high practical relevance. For the same reason, industry partners will be involved in the module design. Innovative and heterogeneous teaching and learning methods will be implemented into the module design.

Once the modules have been designed and developed, summer schools for these modules will be conducted. In the scope of the summer schools, students from NMU and UCT will be further qualified in the field of ICT for sustainability. Industry experts and lecturers from partner institutions will take part in the summer schools as experts. Furthermore, industry partners have the opportunity to participate within vocational training activities.