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Rutgers Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs


Technology, Science, and Quality of Life

Botswana delegation explores Rutgers collaborations for improved quality of life

April 7, 2016

On March 20, 2016, Rutgers welcomed three delegates from the Botswana Institute of Technology, Research, and Innovation (BITRI)—Nelson Tonto, CEO; Shedden Malupe, executive director of technology; and Jose Jackson-Malete, director of research and partnerships—for a week-long tour and exploration of the various ways in which Rutgers and BITRI can collaborate for social improvements.

The delegation visited various STEM facilities and laboratories, including chemical and biochemical engineering and advanced materials laboratories at SOE; food science, plant biology and pathology, earth and planetary sciences, and marine and coastal sciences facilities at SEBS; and chemistry and biochemistry facilities at SAS.

BITRI's goals, Jackson-Malete said, are deeply integrated in social change.

“BITRI is an applied research facility very close to the product side,” Jackson-Malete said. “So our goal is to have a product or service that improves quality of life for the people in Botswana.” 
Jackson-Malete said that one of BITRI’s focus areas includes incorporating indigenous nanomaterials into water filtration, air filtration, and diagnostic products. She said the BITRI cohort was particularly interested in energy and materials innovations that could yield breakthroughs.

“We have several areas of interest at Rutgers, mostly those on the materials side,” she said, describing the potential to work together with materials scientists at Rutgers. Other cooperative efforts could come through exchanges or cross-training of junior researchers and staff or applying jointly for research funding, she said.

That theme of collaboration echoed throughout the tour itself.

“My favorite part of these delegation visits is meeting others, learning what other work has been done,” Malupe said. “I was impressed by how [Rutgers researchers] can make cement out of anything as long as they introduce carbon dioxide.”






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