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Wits hosts unique e-Science teaching platform

- Wits University

Wits is the hub of a unique cross-disciplinary postgraduate e-Science training platform.

In 2016, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) identified the need to establish a multi-institutional National e-Science Postgraduate Teaching and Training Platform (NEPTTP). This platform exists to develop human capital with the knowledge and skills to conduct cutting-edge research in the field of e-Science – in line with the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR), the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and others. 

The DST, through the Council for Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIR) funds the platform, comprised of six universities. Wits University is the administrative hub of a consortium that includes the Universities of Limpopo, North-West, Pretoria, Sol Plaatje, and Venda.

Launched in 2017, the first cohort of around 30 students enrolled for the Master of Science in e-Science and the Master of Arts in e-Science degrees in 2018. These programmes are unique because they traverse faculties – students come from disciplines including Computer Science, Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Actuarial Sciences, Physics, Social Sciences, and Public Health.

The 2019 cohort includes 30 students from Wits and the Universities of Limpopo, Pretoria and Venda.  The first year of the degree consists of coursework, offered at Wits, and in the second year requires a research report (completed at students’ home institution). 

NEPTTP is currently in discussions with various public and private partners including the Gauteng Department of e-Government, the Gauteng Department of Health, as well as financial institutions, and international partners, in order to facilitate an internship programme for graduating students.

“We foresee the demand for such degrees increasing exponentially over the next few years,” says Turgay Celik, NEPTTP Director and Professor in the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Wits.