The Central University of Technology (CUT) and the city of Mangaung formalised an already existing partnership by signing a memorandum of understanding on Friday.
The deal should mutually aid both institutions to advance training, research as well as innovation which will, in turn, benefit the city and the region.
Executive Mayor of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Thabo Manyoni, and Vice-Chancellor of CUT, Professor Thandwa Mthembu, penned down the deal in the company of a few city officials, CUT management, as well as other invited guests.
The ultimate goal is to set up a science and innovation hub in Bloemfontein, a Silicon Valley of sorts.
This innovation park will be able to incubate and develop ideas, not just from CUT students but from young innovators in the Free State.
Mthembu emphasised the importance of convergence over competition among different entities.
“We are doing what many other successful cities and regions do. Important stakeholders in the market such as businesses, government and institutions should not just do their own thing on the side but have to come together at some point,” he said.
“We should not only report in journals but ensure that the ideas created in laboratories and universities are implemented for the benefit of the economy of the region,” he added.
Executive Mayor, Thabo Manyoni, mentioned Bloemfontein is a city that does not have a strong mining or agricultural economy. The city mainly depends on the civil service.
Therefore, they would like to develop the economy of the city by building a hi-tech industry.
The agreement will run for two years, until 31 March 2018. – Moeketsi Mogotsi