by Vanessa Davidson
We have started the year on a positive note, with in principal approval from the Department of Science and Technology to make funds available to the boating industry for innovation and R&D projects. R15M will be allocated over three years on an 80:20 cost sharing basis with industry putting in the twenty percent. I will be organising scoping workshops around the country to present the Sector Innovation Fund in the second quarter of the year. The projects will have to be done with an academic partner and unfortunately we cannot consider proposals that only benefit one company. So please put your thinking caps on and network with others. This is a great opportunity for us to generate public research that is relevant and applicable and will ensure we retain our competitive edge. Something very similar was done in Finland between 2007 and 2011 with positive results for the boating industry.
There are also positive steps being taken within the composites arena. A successful Composites Conference was hosted in December at the Durban University of Technology and plans are moving ahead to activate the composites industry across all sectors and incorporate bio composites. I will keep you posted on developments.
SAMSA kick off three countrywide workshops at the end of the month to engage with boat builders and designers on build processes, marine notices and built in buoyancy challenges. I will be attending all the workshops and presenting the MIASA Builders Plate. This declaration of conformity to build standard, overseen by MIASA, will build consumer confidence and encourage best practice amongst manufacturers. I look forward to seeing many of you at the workshops and having a chance to catch up.