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21 May 2019 | Story Igno van Niekerk | Photo Stephen Collett
Digital storytelling
Collaborating for the common good are from left: Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, and Dr Johan van Zyl.

Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences quoted the Cat Stevens song I can’t keep it in, to capture the excitement surrounding the opening of a Digital Storytelling Lab on the Bloemfontein Campus on 10 May 2019.

After months of hard work by Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, as well as the staff of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Centre for Development Support, the Common Good First lab was completed just in time for the launch attended by about 50 delegates from other South African universities, as well as private and public institutions.

Stories meet technology

In a message, from Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Vice-Rector: Institutional Change, Student Affairs, and Community Engagement, informed the audience that the launch heralded the joining of the old world of stories with the new world of digital technology. Julie Adair, Director of Digital Collaboration at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, welcomed the UFS as a partner to this international social innovation collaborative project in a video message. 

Dr Van Rooyen, the project manager for the UFS, explained how she got involved in the Common Good First project, what the benefits of digital storytelling are, as well as what opportunities the lab creates for cooperation between role players involved in social innovation projects. 

Why the Common Good First lab?

The purpose of the lab is to create a digital network to identify, showcase and connect social innovation projects in South Africa to one another and to universities around the world for research, student engagement and learning and teaching. The lab has been fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for recording and digitising the stories that result from social innovation projects.

In a live Skype session with Dr Il-Haam Petersen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and some of the recent successes of the digital stories in Philippi in the Western Cape were shared.

Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, UFS Director Community Engagement did the final honours by cutting the ribbon, declaring the lab open, and sharing the dream that the work done in this lab will contribute to positive relationships and cooperation between the university and the community, in making not only the university, but the country and the world a better place.


News Archive

Office of Technology Transfer receives multimillion rand grant
2016-01-15


The university’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) received multimillion rand funding for the office to provide much needed support for academia to have their ideas and research effectively turned into business ventures.

This grant of over R4 million by the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO), under the auspices of the Department of Science and Technology, will help the OTT to provide an enabling environment for cooperation between academia and industry to transform innovation emanating from research and development at the UFS into business ventures.

“Research and innovation plays a prominent role in the financial sustainability of an institution, in that it has the capacity to be the largest generator of third-steam income,” says Gerhard Verhoef, Director: Contracts and Innovation at the Directorate Research Development at the UFS.

“The OTT is a very new office and this grant, provided over three years, will help us fulfil our mandate.”

NIPMO aims to ensure that recipients of funding from a government funding agency assess, record and report on the benefit to society of IP emanating from publicly-financed research and development. Recipients must protect IP emanating from publicly-financed research and development from appropriation and ensure that it is available to the people of South Africa. A recipient must identify commercialisation opportunities for IP emanating from publicly-financed research and development.

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