CSIR – Who are they and what role do they play in South Africa?
I was asked to write a blog on the CSIR… Wow – write my own blog? Marvellous, wonderful, yes, indeed!
Then cold reality sets in… Who is CSIR and What on earth do they do…?
I considered the possibility of an underground arm of ‘Crime Scene Investigation’ and with the strains of CSI Miami music playing in the back of my mind (dooooo-waaya, du du du du…) I set off to ask my dear friend, Google.
As reliable as ever, Google responds The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
|The name itself immediately brings to mind a classroom, full of beakers, Bunsen burners and goggle-eyed students huddled over strange, bubbling liquid concoctions…
maybe I wasn’t so far off, after all!
Further investigation reveals the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was founded in 1945 and is SA’s central and premier scientific research and development organisation based in Pretoria.
|Amongst hundreds of projects that the CSIR has contributed to, one that particularly stood out to me was the development of an affordable and durable prosthetic paediatric knee, developed as a cheaper option for kids that are amputees.
There are options available for adults, but ended up being very costly and not practical for children – this new prototype is durable and cheaper and due to a motion detector in the device can allow the doctors to even monitor the general health and improvement of the amputees.
The genius in this device is that it can measure the pressure inside the socket and prevents sores forming as well as possible further amputation as a result.
A brilliant contribution, but what does this have to do with CONSTRUCTION…?
Well, the CSIR has several divisions within their Building Science and Technology division, namely;
Here they contribute to better social infrastructure, health and education facilities in South Africa.
Science and engineering methodologies are applied to tackle social infrastructure research questions and develop evidence-based solutions that inform current policy and practice. Solutions are established to support government’s development objectives and to the benefit of industry and civil society
Construction industry and innovation
They also undertake research, development and implementation of innovative building technologies that aim at transforming the way we construct buildings. Using principles of green building and sustainability to add to the way we design, construct, operate and maintain buildings. Leading to faster construction cycles, a lower life-cycle cost of buildings, improved product quality and worker safety.
They also explore the use of innovative materials such as green bricks, structural insulated panels, light steel frame and natural fibre composites.
Aimed at addressing the problem of slow and costly delivery of housing in South Africa, reducing the high energy and carbon footprint of building materials in a sustainable way, they promote the use of natural fibers for reinforcement, rather than steel, this increases sustainability, creates jobs downstream, promoting agricultural production and resulting in the production of greener building materials.
The group also looks at developing materials for use in industrialized or advanced construction that uses panels or modules made from cheaper and smarter materials to reduce building delivery lead times.
Sounds like an all-around winner to me – no nerdy geeks, just smart people and smarter choices!
In closing, I think the CSIR’s slogan – our future through science – shows that by investing, exploring and ongoing research, they can help shape South Africa’s future and deal with the complex problems facing us today – so it’s not all doom and gloom in the amazing country we call home. These great minds are at work to continually make improvements in our beautiful South Africa.
Telephonic discussion – Nox Moyake