In the Spotlight – Boitumelo Ramatsetse, Academic and member of the NPC in the Office of the Presidency

In this interview we get to know Dr Boitumelo Ramatsetse better. We get to know his outstanding career path thus far and about his role in the Office of the Presidency.

About your growing up years.

“I grew up inMpumalanga province, a place called Siyabuswa where I have spent most of my primary school life. We later relocated to Pretoria North where I completed my high school education atHoërskool Gerrit Maritz.”

Tell us about the path you have followed in your career and research thus far.

“My career has followed largely an academic route, completing my Doctor of Engineering Degree in November 2019, appointed as Research Associate in the Faculty of Engineering from 2021 to 2026 at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).”

“Thereafter I was appointed as Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering at Stellenbosch University (SU).”

“I am currently a Y-Rated NRF researcher, an associate member of Southern African Institute of Industrial Engineers (SAIIE), member of Southern African Institute of Mechanical Engineers (SAIMechE) as well as Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (IEOM). I served at the National Research Foundation (NRF) funding committee for the year 2017 & 2021.”

“In addition, I have also served on various leadership and academic roles including Examination Board Committee, Honours program co-ordinator, Departmental Committee for Research and Innovation, Committee for Postgraduate Studies, ECSA Committee for National Infrastructure to name a few.”

Research and Innovation

“As part of my research niche area, I designed and developed a novel beneficiation solution called Reconfigurable Vibrating Screen (RVS).“

“Through the efforts, I have produced over 30 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 4 book chapters and presented at local and international conferences.“

“To date, I have successfully filed 3 patents in South Africa and China.”

“I further received over 20 awards and recognitions. This includes winning one of the top science awards in South Africa known as the NSTF-South32 TW Kambule Emerging Researcher Award in 2021.”

“I previously worked as a Lecturer & Researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Educational Information & Engineering Technology (EDIET).”

“My undergraduate studies includes a Bachelor of Technology (B-Tech) in Mechanical Engineering obtained in 2011 as well National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering obtained in 2010, Project Management from University of South Africa (UNISA) in 2012 and subsequent postgraduate studies (Master of Technology degree and Doctor of Engineering in Industrial Engineering) allowed for the development of research skills and expertise including reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMS), production systems, machine design, ranging from theory to design implementation.”

Besides work commitments, what are your interests.

“I enjoy watching soccer and playing golf during weekends. In addition, I am passionate about mentoring young people in all fields of Engineering. Thus, I believe that being an academic at Stellenbosch University will allow me to continue motivating and empowering young, ambitious researchers to succeed in various engineering fields. As a result, I intend to establish an interdisciplinary research group that will focus on producing cutting-edge research that will address societal problems through innovations in the field of advanced manufacturing and mechanical engineering design.”

Member of the National planning Committee in the Office of the State President

“I am currently the member of the National Planning Commission (NPC) located in the Office of the Presidency.  I am responsible for providing advice to government on issues of research, innovation as well as facilitating strategic initiatives in alignment to the National Development Plan (NDP).”

“I also serve as the Chairperson of the Strategy Task Team in the NPC.”

“My involvement in the NPC as well as my involvement in academic research groups within institutions of higher learning has improved my knowledge, skills and made huge impact in various areas, which includes.

(i) providing evidence-based advice to government about science, technology and innovation through research expertise and stakeholder engagements,

(ii) keynote presentations about the potential benefits of reconfigurable systems and its applications in industries,

(iii) mentoring and supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students in the field of STEM (iv) developing and designing appropriate technology solutions for underprivileged communities and small-scale industries in Southern Africa.”

Additional Information

“Over the years, I have directly and personally raised several research grants to a total value of R812 800 towards technology development and commercialisation. Furthermore, I have been invited to present on innovation and advanced manufacturing initiatives in various countries where I established business and research collaborations. I have been actively involved in numerous interdisciplinary research projects in collaboration with research institutions, industries, and government organisations. Numerous other contributions I have made in this field have been sparked by these initiatives. “

When we consider the numerous struggles that South Africans, particularly the youth, have faced over the years, Dr Ramatsetse’s contributions to others and the industry become even more significant.

He has made numerous presentations in Parliament of South Africa (i.e. Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration, Summit on Policy Implementation and Legislative Review, National Council of Provinces: Three sphere planning session) as well as presentations to government departments and advisory bodies such as South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) and International Cooperation, Trade and Security (ICTS) cluster strategic planning sessions.

We are immensely honoured to have this son of the African soil on our personnel and wish him only the best in all his endeavours.