Stacey Davidson, REDISA Director, speaks about how investment in research and development (R&D) will prove crucial for companies to stay ahead of global competitors.
Investing in research and development (R&D) not only leads to the sharing of experience and expertise but also helps cultivate future innovators. Science is an area that does not deliver results immediately, which is why it requires sustained investment over time to make the greatest contribution to society. Skills shortages within sectors such as engineering remain an issue and the private sectors’ contribution to education through R&D cannot be underestimated.
REDISA’s commitment to R&D led to research partnerships with Stellenbosch University and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), focussing on the establishment of R&D to grow tyre recycling processes. The partnerships are being used to build knowledge and expertise for the country, specifically dealing with the conversion of waste tyres into chemical products, and creating design processes for South African conditions. Harnessing new technologies, promoting R&D, and translating academic research through entrepreneurship are ways to promote productivity, develop the production value chain and create job opportunities.
Investment in R&D will not only ensure a generation of knowledge but will also pave the way for innovators, helping to create a country that is aligned with the Vision 2030 goals. It is important to create exciting programmes that introduce the youth to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. This will provide opportunities for the youth to investigate relevant problems, using higher-order thinking skills, and create current and future scientists equipped to take on multifaceted challenges.
Investing in R&D will enable companies like REDISA to gain a competitive edge and to provide greater insights into the possible uses of waste tyres. As this is an industry first, research partnerships with institutions like the Stellenbosch University and NMMU are key as they will influence the development and design elements for tyres manufactured and imported into South Africa.