Innovation through nanotechnology

DST/MINTEK

Nanotechnology Innovation Centre

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Nanotechnology Innovation Centre (NIC)

The DST/Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre (NIC) is a national facility that is geographically spread across the country and was established at Mintek in 2007 by the Department of Science and Technology.  The Mintek NIC activities are aimed at addressing national priorities highlighted by both the national nanotechnology strategy and national research and development (R&D) strategy.Importantly, the Mintek NIC structure was built on the foundation of the national system of innovations (NSI) to focus on driving South Africa’s transformation from resource-based economy towards knowledge based economy using nanotechnology.  The Mintek NIC activities focus on a number of issues, including the development of research platforms, encouraging and promoting the formation of collaborative networks, addressing human capital development and bridging the “innovation chasm”.

Through the DST/Mintek NIC, collaborative networks have been established locally, allowing various Universities such as the University of Western Cape, Rhodes University ant the University of Johannesburg undertaking and coordinating research activities in biolabels, sensors and water respectively. Specifically, the activities of NIC focus on the R&D of various nanostructured materials or nanominerals and their applications in health (diagnostics, therapeutics), water (monitoring and remediation) and other related fields.  This basically entails the development of various nanostructured materials as semi-commercial products which are further used as therapeutic systems or tools.Importantly, the nanomaterial systems are used for the development of rapid point-of-care (POC) diagnostic prototypes (either optical or electrochemical) and to enhance the performance of membrane systems for water treatment.

Within the NIC, the Water Research Commission (WRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) are actively involved at the development platforms, thereby, turning nanoscience into nanotechnology.  Mintek NIC hosts world class characterisation and fabrication facilities and has expertise in computational modelling.



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