Page 113 - UCT Research Report 2011

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But more than that, c*change aims, as an explicit part
of its mandate, to transform the face of research in this
field by encouraging and supporting more young black
and women researchers to enter the field. Its name –
c*change – a pun on Shakespeare’s sweeping metaphor
for transformation – reflects this ambition.
Its goal is to develop a cohort of scientists, engineers,
technologists, and academics who can cement the
centre’s and country’s reputation as a world leader in the
field of catalysis; and to achieve this, it is even prepared
to go back to school!
In 2011, c*change initiated the compilation of a resource
pack containing a teachers’ guide, learner worksheets,
videos, animations and posters to help teachers and
learners with the new school Grade 12 Physical Science
syllabus. Together with industrial sponsorship for printing
and distribution, 57 workshops were held nationally, which
were attended by 2 000 teachers, with a total of 5 600
resource packs being distributed to schools countrywide.
Thinking green
While growth and development of the economy, through
strong research and investment in the next generation of
researchers is vital to the future of the country, researchers
at UCT recognise that this cannot come at the expense of
sustainability. Working in a field that has long been considered
the antithesis of sustainability means that scientists and
engineers working alongside the country’s major industries
have to rethink their technologies and processes.
The Centre for Bioprocess Engineering Research
(CeBER) is doing exceptional work in exploring ‘greener’
ways to extract metals in industrial processes. They
are conducting research into the use of bacteria, or
bioleaching; considered a cleaner process than traditional
heap leaching, which uses a series of chemical reactions
to extract minerals. Bioleaching is being tested as an
alternative method for the recovery of metals such as
copper, zinc, and gold from low-grade mineral ores, and
also comes with low investment and operational costs.
In-Situ X-ray Diffraction (XRD) cell invented by Professor Michael Claeys of c*change and Dr Nico Fischer.