The delegation, which was led by South Africa’s minister of higher education Blade Nzimande, learned how the institution was “helping the Tees Valley to transform into a global hub” for innovative eco-friendly tech.
The University is currently working to create a hydrogen hub in the Tees Valley area, which echoes work being undertaken in South Africa to create a similar “hydrogen valley”.
“As an institution which is global in its outlook, we were pleased to showcase the breadth of our ambition to firmly establish the Tees Valley at the heart of the green revolution,” said Teesside’s VC and chief executive Paul Croney.
South Africa became involved in the work through close ties with the UK2070 Commission, which also has its own UK2070 Teesside Task Force, that aims to position the university as a “driving force” behind developing excellence in bioscience, zero-carbon economy and “the potential of green steel”.
Lord Kerslake, chair of the Commission, said, “The Commission’s work has highlighted the importance of harnessing the potential of universities in seeking solutions to the deep social and economic challenges that we all face.
“Today is a practical demonstration of what can be achieved by such collaborative action,” he added.
The visit was part of a larger state visit to the UK conducted by South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa.
As part of the trip, Teesside has also reached an agreement with two prominent universities in South Africa – Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape province, and the University of Pretoria.
The partnerships will aim to deepen ties in “academic collaboration on hydrogen”, as well as sharing best practice and gaining funding opportunities.
“As an institution which is global in its outlook, we were pleased to showcase the breadth of our ambition”
“Through partnership working we are committed to driving forward innovation and investment in new green technologies,” said Croney.
“We look forward to working with our partners in South Africa to deliver against our shared vision of delivering a just transition for all.”
In addition to the new partnership, Teesside is working towards the opening of an entire centre geared towards the net zero industry.
“The Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre will be central to this mission, and the potential for future knowledge exchange and collaboration with our counterparts in South Africa offers tremendous opportunities to deliver industry-focused solutions to combating the climate emergency,” said pro vice-chancellor of research and innovation Stephen Cummings.