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Recommendations for Human Capital Development for Earth Observation Programs within the Republic of South Africa


Recommendations for Human Capital Development for Earth Observation Programs within the Republic of South Africa Report of the IEEE International Expert Panel – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Recommendations for Human Capital Development for Earth Observation Programs within the Republic of South Africa

Recommendations for Human Capital Development
for Earth Observation Programs within the
Republic of South Africa
  • Report of the
  • IEEE International Expert Panel

  • Introduction of Expert Panel
  • Terms of Reference
  • Process
  • Issues from the Perspective of the Expert Panel
  • Proposed Structure
  • Essential Skill Sets for Earth Observation
  • Curriculum Components for Partner program in
    Overarching Themes
  • The water cycle
  • Disasters
  • Global climate
  • Human settlement.

The IEEE Expert Panel
Terms of Reference
  • Review the assessment, carried out by
    consultants, of the current status of teaching
    and research in Earth Observations at the
    institutions of higher education within South
  • Assess the Human Capital Development (HCD)
    required for the Earth Observation programs at
    these institutions to be competitive in the
    international arena within 5 to 10 years.
  • Provide advice on the processes, procedures and
    financial instruments that would be most
    effective to achieve those goals.

  • Provided guidance for Questionnaire Structure for
    the Audit Report of the Consultant Team
  • IEEE ad hoc Expert Panel hosted by the government
    of South Africa from June 29 to July 1, 2010 in
    Brussels, Belgium
  • Drafts by Writing Team and reviews by ad hoc
    Expert Panel
  • Review of other relevant institutes, programs,
    funding models etc.
  • Peer Review
  • Presentation on February 21
  • Continued development through a live process

Writing Team
  • Dr. Ellsworth LeDrew, F.IEEE, F.CASI (Team
  • Dr. Jay Pearlman, F.IEEE
  • Dr. Melba Crawford, F.IEEE

Issues from the Perspective of the Expert Panel
  • Study and training in Earth observations is
    markedly challenged by the lack of depth of
    faculty expertise and programs at the majority of
    institutions. In some cases there is only one
    faculty member at the institution and the time of
    that faculty member may be focused on other
    activities, notably teaching use of GIS software.

Issues from the Perspective of the Expert Panel
  • Effective access to appropriate imagery for a
    particular study theme or research project must
    be improved.
  • With the exception of access to commonly
    available PC computer resources, access to
    specialized software, high performance computing,
    specialized field equipment in Earth
    observations, and airborne imaging systems needs
    considerable improvement.

Issues from the Perspective of the Expert Panel
  • There is no single initiative or a program that
    currently provides experts in Earth Observations
    of an international caliber.
  • Financial resources are scarce throughout the
    educational system.
  • There is little evidence of systemic partnerships
    or dialogue between institutions of higher
    education and private industry, government, or
    international organizations.

Issues from the Perspective of the Expert Panel
  • There is little evidence, with the exception of
    the University of Stellenbosch, of long-term
    strategic planning in Earth Observations
  • High Band-width internet capacity is critical for
    all university, government and private
    institutions involved in the Earth-Observations
    initiative within South Africa and with the rest
    of the world.

Keystone Concept for the Proposed Structure
  • The focus will be to develop a system such that
    individual students will not need to leave South
    Africa for universities in other countries to
    have a world-class higher education at any degree

Strategy in Developing Structure
  • develop an end-to-end program for Human Capital
    Development for specific key Earth Observation
    user requirements identified by the government of
    South Africa.
  • This program will include the skill sets of the
    students as they enter the institutions of higher
    education and the skill sets required by
    employers within private industry and government
    in South Africa.
  • include international and national networking
    with partners in education, industry and

Guidance in Developing Structure
  • A priority of the government of South Africa is
    Human Capital Development and this includes
    decent employment through inclusive economic
  • The objective of the government is to be a
    leading nation in the use of space science and
    technology in service to its people.
  • The government has identified four overarching
    themes for focus that may serve as catalysts for
    human capital development and Earth observations
  • The water cycle
  • Disasters
  • Global climate
  • Human settlement.

Tactics in Developing Structure
  • The tactics may include
  • centers of excellence,
  • research chairs,
  • development of mentoring and communication
    processes within the country,
  • collaboration with institutions in other
  • sandwich programs with institutions in other
  • development of programs that emphasize community
    participation in remote sensing,
  • cooperative education programs,
  • in-career professional development,
  • accreditation for specific earth observations
    skill sets,
  • and oversight by an advisory council.
  • Any plan must include milestones and benchmarks
    that can be assessed in terms of success of the
    program at periodic intervals.

  • National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme
  • African Institute for Mathematical Science Next
    Einstein Initiative (http//
    BUILDING (http//
  • CSIR Earth Observations (http//
  • Chair and host of the IEEE IGARSS09
    (International Geoscience and Remote Sensing
    Society) International symposium in Cape Town,
    July, 2009

Two Structures for Consideration
  • Networks of Excellence hub and spoke model
  • National Institute informed by the African
    Institute for Mathematical Sciences AIMS, the
    Next Einstein Initiative
  • South African Institute for Geomatic Sciences
  • Or a combination of the best parts of both?

Networks of Excellence (1)Competitive Call for
  • Initial Call for NoE for two of four overarching
    themes water cycle, disasters, climate change,
    and human settlement
  • The call would be for a combination of Networks
    of Excellence (NoE) and research chairs that
    would encourage development of partnerships
    within the various universities as well as
    between universities, government and industry

Networks of Excellence (2)Structure of Operations
  • Noting that some universities have PhD programs
    whilst other universities may only have Bachelor
    of Science programs in Earth Observations, or
    even one course in Earth Observations as part of
    a spatial analysis theme, we recommend that
    partnerships be developed around a hub and spoke
    model of collaboration and mentoring

Networks of Excellence (3)The Hub and Spoke
  • There will be a central hub with two or more sets
    of rings of widening radius joined by spokes.
  • The central hub would be one or more universities
    with accredited PhD programs that can provide
    leadership in teaching and scholarship
  • Individual spokes would go out to the other
    universities that, at the first ring, may have a
    Master of Science (or equivalent) as the final
    degree and
  • at the second ring of larger radius, may have a
    Bachelor of Science (or equivalent) as the final

Networks of Excellence (4)Ten-Year Goal
  • The objective is to develop a structure for
    mentoring, exchange of curricula materials and
    courses, and collaborative scholarship that
    would, within a decade, provide every student
    equal access to a Masters or PhD program

Networks of Excellence (5)Crucial Role of
  • The current PhD-capable universities would act as
    mentors to those in partnership with them.
  • This mentoring may be enhanced through both
    academic exchanges and collaborative research
    with principals in internationally recognized
    institutions in other countries.
  • External international partners may also be
    invited to participate as nodes in the hub or
    internal to a given institutions program.

Networks of Excellence (6)Mentoring
  • Mentoring would be enabled through activities
    that could involve milestones for measurement of
  • Annual symposia that include all South Africa
    Networks of Excellence in Earth Observations. The
    symposia would include presentation of results of
    collaborative research amongst members of the hub
    and spoke network, examination of procedures for
    and evidence of success of networked learning,
    and development of lifelong learning curricula
    for partners in industry and government.
  • Collaboration on research by all institutions in
    the network that will include participation by
    the public in field programs. The citizen as
    participant in science and technology is an
    initiative that is growing in several areas, such
    as weather and atmospheric science, and the
    GEO-wiki (http//

Networks of Excellence (7)Mentoring
  • Sharing of undergraduate and graduate course
    materials and lectures between all institutions
    in the network by means of broad-band Internet
    and modern communication strategies. We note
    that, towards this end, R250 million was
    announced on October 28, 2010, by the Ministry of
    Science and Technology and the National Research
    Foundation to improve broadband connectivity
    throughout the South African research network.
  • Bimonthly meetings of faculty and students within
    each Network of Excellence with emphasis on
    face-to-face discussion but inclusion of
    teleconferencing if necessary.
  • Training of Faculty through funded secondment to
    highly ranked international universities in
    partnership with RSA and training centres such as
    ICT, Netherlands and recent opportunities
    sponsored by the European Union.

Networks of Excellence (8)Research Chairs
  • A senior research chair for each center would be
    resident at a PhD capable University, whilst
    junior chairs may be resident at the Masters or
    Bachelors capable universities
  • The network so developed would be able to proceed
    with the research at a scale not possible before,
    and achieve a scale of activity and credibility
    that will foster further funding initiatives at
    the international scale.

Networks of Excellence (9)Audit and Planning
  • To ensure that the objectives of the network,
    including mentoring, growth of national and
    international partnerships, and creation of
    future capability in industry, we recommend that
    there be an Earth Observations Advisory Council
    for all of the Networks of Excellence in Earth
  • This council would be comprised of individuals
    from a variety of Earth Observation specialties,
    countries, and types of research and teaching
  • This group, which may be very effective with the
    size of 4 to 6, would participate in the annual
    symposia for all of the networks.

Dr. Neil Turok and the African Institute for
Mathematical Science
  • AIMS was developed to provide an excellent
    advanced education to talented African students,
    encouraging independent thinkers, researchers and
    problem solvers capable of contributing to
    Africas development. AIMS teaching philosophy
    promotes critical and creative thinking and
    deliberately avoids the emphasis, all too common
    in both African and international universities,
    on rote learning and cramming for written exams.

Dr. Neil Turok and the African Institute for
Mathematical Science
  • AIMS declared goals are to
  • Promote mathematics and science in Africa
  • Recruit and train talented students and
  • Build capacity for African initiatives in
    education, research and technology

Dr. Neil Turok and the African Institute for
Mathematical Science
  • AIMS is a partnership project of three South
    African universities Cape Town, Stellenbosch,
    and Western Cape, and three international partner
    universities - Cambridge, Oxford, and Paris-Sud
    XI (Orsay). Universities, both within and outside
    Africa, are seeking to join AIMS, in the
    expansion of the AIMS model to create new AIMS
    centres throughout Africa as set out in this
    Plan. (http//

Dr. Neil Turok and the African Institute for
Mathematical Science
  • As an example of the impact of this project, Dr.
    Barry Green, the current Director of AIMS, notes
    in the 2010 Annual Report
  • South African institutions of higher education
    have the responsibility of graduating more South
    Africans with postgraduate degrees in the
    sciences, particularly Master's and Doctoral
    degrees. AIMS is working hard to encourage South
    African students in particular, to pursue
    scientific careers. One of the initiatives
    introduced to address this is a joint
    biomathematics programme offered in collaboration
    with Stellenbosch University with half of the
    course taught at AIMS. At the end of 2009 the
    ?rst group of ?ve South African honours students
    with biomathematics focus graduated at
    Stellenbosch University, with seven more
    registering for this programme at the beginning
    of 2010.

South African Institute for Geomatic
  • is a high impact venue to enhance the learning
    environment very quickly
  • if the AIMS model is used or an affiliation with
    AIMS is pursued, there may be minimal risk
  • With partnerships between many South African
    universities, with highly ranked international
    universities, and with government and private
    institutions of notable research in Earth
    Observations, a high quality academic program can
    be delivered with results visible within the
    short term

South African Institute for Geomatic
  • With careful planning and implementation, this
    may be designed so that students from any South
    African University, regardless of historical
    status, may realize immediate value.
  • The challenge will be to adapt this model to
    bring cutting edge post-graduate research into
    the academic process
  • Incorporate the Networks of Excellence Funding

Essential Skill Sets
  • Specify skill sets for an International caliber
    program in the Earth Observation Science at the
    BES, MES and PhD level
  • Each may partner with one or more of the
    overarching themes of
  • The water cycle
  • Disasters
  • Global climate
  • Human settlement.
  • Curriculum components developed for each of these
    that include Earth Observations

BES Skill Set (1)
BES Skill Set (2)
BES Skill Set (3)
Human settlement Forestry and Natural Resources
  • Advanced fundamentals organic chemistry,
    biochemistry, microbiology, statistical methods
  • Dendrology
  • Forest soils
  • Conservation genetics
  • Tree physiology
  • Principles of silviculture
  • Forest ecosystems
  • Landscape ecology
  • Field measurements sampling and data analysis
  • Natural resource issues, policy, and
  • Natural resource and environmental economics
  • Human dimensions of natural resources
  • Degree dependent electives related to fisheries,
    aquatic science, wildlife management, urban

Human settlement Agriculture
  • Advanced fundamentals organic chemistry,
    biochemistry, microbiology
  • Soil science (chemistry, physics, fertility,
  • Hydrologic processes
  • Plant genetics
  • Plant science and physiology
  • Cropping systems and production
  • Weather and climate
  • Agronomic systems analysis and management
  • Agricultural economics
  • Economics and management of Natural Resources

Global climatePhysical Processes
  • Introduction to Global Change
  • Principles of Climate Change Economics and Policy
  • Meteorology and Climate
  • Boundary-layer Processes
  • Earth System Modelling
  • Atmospheric Dynamics
  • Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and
  • Atmospheric Chemistry and Air Quality
  • Atmosphere-Vegetation-Soil Interactions
  • Field Experiment Meteorology and Air Quality

Global climateImpact Assessment
  • Environmental Systems Analysis Methods and
  • Integrated Environmental Assessment Pollution
  • Integrated Environmental Assessment Regional
  • Principles of Earth and Ecosystem Science
  • Environmental Economics for Environmental
  • Economics and Management of Natural Resources
  • Advanced Environmental Economics and Policy
  • Theories and Models in Environmental Economics
  • Environmental Policy Analysis and Evaluation
  • Sustainable Technology Development
  • Environment and Development

Water Cycle
  • Hydraulics and fluid mechanics (open channel and
    closed conduits)
  • Hydrologic processes (surface and groundwater
    flow, contaminant transport)
  • Water resources systems analysis and management
  • Water supply, distribution, collection and
  • Land surface-atmosphere interactions
  • Biogeochemical systems
  • Global and regional climate
  • Meteorology and weather
  • Earth system coupled modelling
  • Sensors and instrumentation
  • Economics and environmental policy

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