Innovation through nanotechnology


Nanotechnology Innovation Centre

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June 2013       <<Back

NSTF Awards recognise innovative Mintekkers

The nomination and eventual winning for Dr Tshikhudo was for his “Outstanding Contribution to Science, Energy, Technology and Innovation (SETI) through Management”.  He was also nominated in the Research and Capacity Development” category.  This was in recognition of his “establishment and management of a world class nanotechnology innovation centre which has made significant progress in developing research platforms, promoting collaborative networks, addressing human capacity.

The NSTF-BHP Billition Awards are held annually to celebrate the achievements and contributions made by scientists, engineers and technologies across various sectors in South Africa, and the nominees were celebrated at a gala dinner attended by the Minister of Science and Technology, Honourable Derek Hanekom.

Unlocking the future with nanotechnology

Four Mintek representatives demonstrated the global competitiveness of the Mintek’s Nanotechnology Innovation Centre (NIC) as the largest nanotech centre in Africa, during their participation at the International Macro- and Supramolecular Architectures and Materials (MAM-12) symposium series in India, last year in November.

As a result, the company is set to host the MAM symposium in 2014 at its Randburg campus.

Led by Dr. Makhapa Makhafola, Mintek’s General Manager for Research and Development, the delegation comprised Dr. Robert Tshikhudo, Head of the NIC, NIC Scientist - Dr. Jeseelan Pillay and Dr. Lucky Sikhwivhilu who is the NIC Research coordinator - Nanominerals.

“We attended the conference with the intention to represent Mintek and to strengthen collaborative activities with K.S. Rangasamy College of Technology (KSRCT),” Tshikhudo said. “Also, the conference provided an opportunity to highlight the importance of Mintek’s gold nanotechnology that is used for therapeutics and diagnostic purposes.  This topic was also selected to appear on the Times of India (a national news publication)”

Delivering an address at the conference, Tshikhudo held that science is a global enterprise and as such knowledge generation and infrastructure sharing are imperative for societal impact based research.

His presentation was an attempt to bring the world to Mintek, as well as exposing its variety of innovations, discoverties or achievements and the research infrastructure as a tool for collaborative research.

“The objective of the MAM-12 symposium series was to provide an interdisciplinary forum for scientists engaged in the full spectrum of research, development, application, as well as to discuss the current status and recent developments of these materials with a focus on the chemistry and the practical approaches”, he said.

All four delegates from Mintek presented invited/key note lectures and also chaired varous sessions during the conference including the plenary sessions and interacted with varous scientists on varous aspects of nanotechnology.

More than 55 learners and educators from three high schools in Limpopo province recently visited the Nanotechnology Innovation Centre (NIC) at Mintek. These learners represented Mokone a Mabula, Nape a Ngoato and Ngwanamashile Secondary Schools all from Mohlalaotoane village just outside Marble Hall.
While they were on campus, Dr Robert Tshikhudo, chief director and head of the Nanotechnology Centre gave overviews of nanoscience and nanotechnology as a career pathway, as well as highlighting the advantages, impact and relevance of the program to modern society. Dr Tshikhudo shared some of the sophisticated research activities done at the centre with the learners who did not hide their stimulated enthusiasm to this much talked about science of the very small.
Following the career discussion and introductions, learners were taken to the research laboratories where the NIC Researchers demonstrated some of the technologies currently being developed and techniques that they use to carry out research. This afforded the learners an opportunity to interact with the rest of the centre members and to ask as many questions as possible. Though learners asked all sorts of questions, but equal to the task were meticulously thought-out answers that could only catapult the learners’ interest to an orbit of envy. “It is the professionalism and knowledge displayed by researchers that got us interested, some learners said”. Learning about the principles and applications of nanotechnology as well as seeing characterisation equipment such as SEM, TEM, AFM, Particle sizer, etc. made the experience a lot more practical for the learners and educators. With tons of new knowledge and excitement learners left Mintek at 17:00 for Limpopo.
For more info on Nanotechnology Innovation Centre facility tours contact: Dr Lucky Sikhwivhilu at

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