Ricochet News

Nelson Mandela University launches new R62 million Ocean Sciences Campus

By Jesica Slabbert - Sep 22, 2017
Nelson Mandela University launches new R62 million Ocean Sciences Campus

With five of its seven campuses located a few hundred metres from the sea and within 25km of two major ports, Nelson Mandela University’s involvement in the blue economy is inescapable.

To this end, the University launched their new Ocean Sciences Campus, situated at the old CSIR building in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth, on Friday.

The campus is essentially a dedicated ocean sciences centre of excellence that will foster transdisciplinary research and innovation, with a postgraduate focus, necessary to address the ecological, economic and social sustainability challenges of the oceans.

The new campus, like the recently launched Nelson Mandela University name, is part of the trajectory that has its roots in the institution’s 2020 vision and strategy, birthed in 2010.

The vision and strategy, whose formulation and execution, led from the outset by now outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Prof Derrick Swartz, aims to reposition the University in South Africa, Africa and the world.

Prof Swartz has been the driving force behind the University’s bold new Ocean Sciences Strategy, which arises from his passionate belief that Mandela University enjoys a number of competitive advantages enabling it to become the leading Ocean Sciences University on the African continent.

“The University has adopted a bold new Ocean Sciences strategy to drive a new research, training and innovation agenda to help find better tools for managing the twin challenges of human development and ecological sustainability,” Prof Swartz told delegates.

“In this context, we have begun to expand academic offerings in fields such as oceanography, marine engineering, maritime economics and logistics, marine tourism, port development and management, marine spatial planning and the law of the sea, including fisheries law enforcement.”

Also in attendance was the Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, who stated that the new campus will be a great contribution to the ocean economy in both Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape as a whole. 

“I have no doubt that all the sectors of this city’s society, the residents and especially prospective students are encouraged and heartened by the fact that the ocean sciences will now take its rightful place in the curriculum of the Nelson Mandela University,” said Mayor Trollip.

As contributors to the commissioning of the campus, the British High Commissioner to South Africa, Nigel Casey; Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa, Trine Skymoen, and Finnish Deputy Head of Mission to South Africa, Anna Merrified, also attended the launch.

They expressed their countries’ interest in working together with the university in order to help grow the local ocean economy.

“Huge congratulations to the Vice-Chancellor, this campus is his vision you are seeing be made into reality today. A vision that ocean science and the vast range of disciplines that go into it should be brought together to a centre of excellence,” said Casey.

R62 million has already been invested in the new campus with a further R17 million earmarked for Phase 2 developments.