UKZN’s School of Management, Information Technology and Governance (SMIG) in partnership with the Chemnitz University of Technology’s (CUT) Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, will participate in the Joint Expertise Project (JEP) to be held in Chemnitz, Germany and Durban, South Africa.

The collaborative initiative aims to shape a multi-level, academic co-operation project between the two institutions.

CUT and UKZN have a long-standing working relationship stretching back to 2003. Three years after the start of the relationship an initiative called the African, American and European Summer School was introduced. It aimed to bring together staff and students from participating institutions to debate current issues in management and governance.

SMIG delegates participating in the JEP are: Information Systems and Technology academic Professor Brian McArthur, Human Resource Management and Labour Relations lecturer Mr Taahir Vajeth, Academic Leader of Research, Professor Isabel de Azevedo Martins, Supply Chain Management lecturer Ms Jayrusha Ramasamy-Gurayah, Management lecturer Dr Andrisha Beharry-Ramraj and Information Systems and Technology lecturer Dr Upasana Singh, Postdoctral Research Fellow at SMIG Dr Khalida Akbar, Management and Entrepreneurship academic Professor Ziska Fields,  Public Governance academic Professor Henry Wissink, Marketing and Supply Chain academic Professor Micheline Naude, Information Systems and Technology lecturer Dr Indira Padayachee, Management and Entrepreneurship Academic Leader Dr Evelyn Derera and Marketing and Supply Chain Management Professor Deborah Ann Ellis.

The initial project meeting started with McArthur, Vajeth, Martins, Ramasamy-Gurayah, Beharry-Ramraj and Singh travelling to Chemnitz for a series of presentations, workshops and related field trips on international activities and sustainability in education.

Towards the end of 2017 UKZN delegates McArthur, Fields, Vajeth, Wissink, Naude, Padayachee, Derera and Ellis returned to Chemnitz where strategic planning and research co-operation’s for the year 2018 were defined and established at various workshops and meetings. During this time Professor Henry Wissink also delivered a series of guest lectures.

Wissink, who is the project team leader alongside CUT’s holder of the Chair for Innovation Research and Technology Management Professor Stefan Hüsig, hopes the project will renovate UKZN’s existing M Com Degree in Management, to make it a lot more relevant for the purposes of innovation and technology management, as well as serving the interests of the newly UKZN approved Aerotropolis Institute Africa (AIA), under the auspice of the SMIG as the proposed intellectual home. During a second phase, we will conceptualise, test and certify a new global joint master’s degree within the project to reflect growing local and global needs for innovation, technology management, smart cities and large scale urban developments.

‘Our relationship with Chemnitz has probably been one of the most successful and important strategic projects for the SMIG, within the many partnerships UKZN has established over the past few years. I believe that the project has been an important primer to cement new relationships between staff in both SMIG and CUT. This project has already started to bear fruit in terms of establishing joint research projects, and has the potential to dramatically change how we teach and what we offer our students at a postgraduate level to face the innovation and technology management challenges of the new millennium,’ said Wissink.

‘This project is now fully established in terms of objectives and deliverables, and is ongoing in its initial stages. We have our first strategic workshop meeting planned for March 2018 in Durban, in which we will discuss and debate the content of the renovated master’s degree in management for the challenges of responsible management in the 21st Century,’ he added.

Words: Sibonelo Shinga