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Fundamental & Applied Research

1). Research on critical topics

The CoLab researches digital-related topics to stimulate interest in and focus attention on particular gaps/issues/concerns. Projects done thus far include:

  • Strategies, Practices and Skills for Competitiveness in the Digital Economy: A perspective on large companies in South Africa. Bellville: UWC. ISBN: 978-0-86808-751-1.

  • How do micro-enterprises really use mobile tech? Desktop study and  Experiential research (TELKOM study)

  • An environmental scan to identify NGOs/CBOs involved in skills development initiatives in communities for involvement in digital skills agenda.

These research reports are made available to the broader network to stimulate discourse and action but are also utilised for academic articles/papers.


2) Research capacity building

According to the CoLab mandate it has to invest in post-graduate research capacity building on the thematic area. The CoLab offers bursaries with internships for Masters/PhD students and Post-Doctoral Researchers to focus on the theme of eInclusion and Social Innovation.


3 ). Joint Research Initiatives


3.1 International Joint Research Group

  • CoLab has a formal partnership with VUB and UGent through the International Joint Research Group (a 4-year research program funded by VUB to develop research capability in the area of eInclusion and Social Innovation and to support staff mobility amongst the institutions). The S-DIRECT seminars are some of the outputs of this initiative where the research work of the joint group is presented in a user-friendly manner to the extended stakeholder network of the CoLab.

  • Through this partnership, 3 PhD’s have been funded and co-funded between UWC, CoLab and VUB/Ghent (VLIR-UOS partnership).

  • Nine Joint-PhDs are currently in process across multiple academic disciplines.


3.2) NRF Funding

Dept. of Information Systems in collaboration with CoLab and VUB (imec-SMIT) successfully applied for NRF funding to contribute towards staff mobility and research capability development in the areas of smart cities, and the development of assessment/measuring instruments to determine progress in terms of national digital transformation


3.3) Erasmus + Funding for project:  Common Good First – Digital Storytelling for Social Innovation

Glasgow Caledonian University is the anchor University for three social innovation-related projects, funded by Erasmus + programme. The overall purpose of these programmes: (1) to build capacity in the partner countries to ensure systemic impact, social justice ad sustainability for the networks and projects, (2) to drive an educational vision to build human skills for our collective labour markets.

UWC (CoLab and Prof. Isabel Venter) is one of 11 Universities participating in the Digital Storytelling for Social Innovation project, aimed at creating a digital network to capture and showcase social innovation projects in Northern Europe and South Africa, connecting them to each other and to academics and HEIs in both regions. Completed in October 2019.


3.4) Western Cape Digital Skills Joint Agenda for Action,

The CoLab, and CoCT (skills development unit) and CiTi supported the Digital Economy Unit of DEDAT (WCG) in their submission of a proposal on Western Cape Digital Skills Joint Agenda for Action, for external funding (EU). The purpose of this propose project is to: (1) To map and outline the Digital Skills landscape in the Western Cape province; (2) to determine a joint plan amongst stakeholders (public, private sector and academia) which will enable digital skills capacity building at scale in order to support a more digitally enabled economy; (3) to identify catalytic projects which sector players can rally around and (4) to better match supply and demand for digital skills in the region.

The CoLab has been appointed by the EU to complete phase one (As-IS) of the research project and to participate in the formulation of the joint plan of action. Project completed in March 2019.

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