Intertwined cross-cutting challenges characterise the fast-changing global environment in which TUT seeks to impact society. The implementation of the TUT’s Internationalisation Strategy continues to strengthen the University's global impact and footprint, to ensure that students and staff benefit from internationalisation and contribute as global citizens to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals and societal issues.

We caught up with Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, DVC for Research, Innovation and Engagement, who shared insights on the University’s Internationalisation portfolio, mutually beneficial global engagements resulting in knowledge co-creation and global recognition for ideas emanating from TUT.

Q1: In 2023, the University celebrated several student exchange milestones. Take us through some of these achievements.

A: Indeed, a number of milestones were reached during the 2023 academic year. The following student exchanges took place where students are co-supervised by academics at respective hosting universities and home university:


  • A PhD student in Horticulture from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) is participating in a six-month research exchange programme (September 2023 to February 2024) at the University of Trento (UniTrento, Italy) through a bilateral agreement signed.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between TUT and Henan Polytechnic University signed by Prof Yang Xiaolin, President and Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, DVC for Research, Innovation and Engagement.

  • A PhD student in Engineering has been accepted for the UniTrento exchange programme, which will commence in January 2023.
  • A PhD student in Informatics (Faculty of ICT) completed her exchange programme in January 2023 at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, (UPV, Spain). Two master’s students from the Department of Informatics also participated in the UPV programme from January to June 2023. The programme is partially funded under the Erasmus+ KA107 programme.


  • TUT hosted a Master of Engineering student (Civil Engineering) from UniTrento, Italy, from January to June 2023.
  • Under the CatChain programme, TUT is hosting two PhD students from Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) and the UNU-MERIT/University of Maastricht (Netherlands)
  • A proposal submitted by TUT to host international students under the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship has been approved, one master’s student from Botswana will be hosted for a full two-year period at TUT beginning from 2024 academic year.

Q2: Please share some of the opportunities staff members received through staff exchange programmes?

A: The following staff exchanges took place during the 2023 academic year:


  • Visiting Researcher: TUT’s Faculty of ICT hosted one researcher from the U.S under the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program.
  • TUT’s Faculty of Management Sciences hosted two researchers, one from October to November 2023, and the other from August to December 2023 under the Catchain Project. The visiting researchers are from UNU-MERIT/University of Maastricht (the Netherlands) and Complutense University of Madrid (Spain), respectively.
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  • Visiting Researcher: One staff member at TUT’s Faculty of ICT was awarded Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program in June 2023.

Q3: What about Joint-Doctoral Degrees?

A: In partnership with University Paris-Est (France), TUT has a co-tutelle doctorate programme. To date, one student has registered from 2023 and one has graduated during 2023 autumn graduation. There are ongoing discussions to develop more possibilities in the coming year.

Q4: And joint research programmes?

Two submissions have been made for the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) - Research and Innovation Grants and a total amount of R320 000.00 has been awarded for this project. In addition, TUT hosted two researchers in the Faculty of Management Sciences under the Catchain Project, one from Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) and the other from United Nations University – MERIT (the Netherlands). We also have the Joint Research Project under ICSSR (India) and NIHSS (South Africa) in the field of Social Sciences.

Q5: The South African research landscape is changing rapidly. The new environmental and societal challenges we face, such as climate change and energy, demand answers from researchers. Also, the search for prevailing solutions is also propelled by competition for better ideas and methodologies, and funding to make it all happen. How is TUT doing in this regard?

A: A joint funding proposal has been submitted under the Erasmus + Capacity building with Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT) in the field of higher education programme. The funding has been approved and a total amount 880 000 Euros has been awarded to the entire consortium.

Erasmus Funding for ICT Research

Funding of an amount of 58345 Euros (approximately R1 210 075) has been awarded to TUT under the project titled: A Modular Higher Education System in Data Protection and Cybersecurity for Supporting the Digital Transformation in Mozambique and South Africa. The project is a joint venture with TUT and other partner institutions.

Erasmus+ Programme KA107 Staff and Student Mobility exchange

Czech University of Life Sciences Prague and TUT Faculty of Science (Department of Crop Sciences) have submitted joint application for students and staff mobility programme. We are awaiting feedback on the submission.

We also have several applications on the pipeline, such as DAAD funded academic exchange programmes. The Internationalisation Office arranged a meeting with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) on 12 September 2023, where DAAD presented funding opportunities and calls open to support collaborations between South African and German universities. One of TUT’s German partners Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf (HSWT) was represented during the meeting and it was agreed that TUT and HSWT would explore funding opportunities through DAAD and submit a joint application.

Q6: In conclusion, what should we look forward to in 2024?

In 2024, we will be taking our Internationalisation portfolio to another level - impact is in the numbers. The University has approximately 60 000 students in six campuses spread across three provinces in the country. Thus far, we have managed to build solid collaborations with international partners, but we now need to demonstrate the benefits of such collaborations to our students, staff as well as in the reputation of our institution.

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