We live in a world characterized by inequality, poverty, economic volatility, globalization, climate change and ambiguity. in my country,
It is far from what the country could be if we put its best talents and resources to use for the benefit of humanity.
Innovation will be key to any positive change, and research-intensive universities play a central role in that innovation. as the
Great innovations have emerged from the work done by Wits researchers who have shifted the quadrant in areas ranging from health to computing to quantum and nuclear physics. This rich knowledge continues to inform day-to-day politics and decisions, and is the foundation of the cutting-edge research that the institution continues to produce.
100 years of change
Nearly a century later, sensor science has made several quantum leaps. professor
The university has also come a long way in its IT journey. In 1960 it was the first university in
As president of the
But many of the world’s greatest mysteries and potentially greatest opportunities remain beyond the reach of classic computers. To continue the pace of progress, we need to augment the classical approach with a completely new paradigm, which follows its own set of rules: quantum computing.
This radically new way of doing computer calculations is exponentially faster than any classic computer. It can run new algorithms to solve previously “unsolvable” problems in optimization, chemistry, and machine learning, and its applications are far-reaching, from physics to healthcare.
Innovative healthcare is badly needed across the African continent. Here too Wits was able to play a fundamental role in the sphere of research, teaching and learning, clinical, social and advocacy. It was the first university to conduct COVID-19 vaccination studies
Our researchers have also developed technology to improve accurate testing for tuberculosis. And the Pelebox, an invention to reduce the time patients spend waiting for drugs in hospitals.
Elsewhere in the institute, researchers connected the brain to the internet, used brain waves to control a robotic prosthetic hand, and developed an affordable 3D printed bionic hand.
Research-intensive university in
How do we serve as a catalyst for social change? How can we best use our intellectual dynamism and work with the public and private sectors to bring about positive change? How do we create relevant new knowledge and translate it into innovation? How can we best develop critical thinkers, innovators, creators and the high-level skills needed to advance our economy and the future world of work?
How to quantify our social impact and ensure it is contextually tuned? How can we influence policy change?
These questions are at the heart of the university’s strategy today. And they are undoubtedly considered throughout the higher education sector as universities work to harness their collective talent and resources at their disposal to create a new future and transform society for the benefit of all humanity.
Zeblon Vilakazi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal,
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