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Over the past few years, CHEC has been developing a stronger focus on the role of higher education in regional development and an interest in triple helix relationships (academia, government and business). It has also started to explore how universities have addressed knowledge transfer and innovation in a regional and national context.

CHEC has signed formal Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with both the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government (WCG) and has partnerships about various more specific matters. The purpose of the MOUs is to establish a structured framework for engagement and to build integrated and sustainable partnerships with one another in which expertise, research and best practices are shared to good effect within the reality of differing priorities and capacities. These partnerships advance social and economic development and promote the Western Cape as a 'learning region'.

In 2015, CHEC became a member of Accelerate Cape Town, a business leadership organisation representing top-tier corporate business in the Cape Town City region (Read more).

Partnership with the Western Cape Government (WCG)

Following a summit with the Cabinet and Premier of the then WCG held on 16 October 2006 (click here to Report on CHEC - Provincial Government Summit 2006), a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed. Its key objectives are to:

  • establish structures that enable the Western Cape institutions and the Provincial Government to develop and implement shared strategies for advancing social and economic development;
  • promote the Western Cape as a 'Learning Region', which can be used to attract people to the region to study and contribute to growth and development in the Western Cape province;
  • facilitate the regular sharing of information on the plans of higher education institutions and the Provincial Government;
  • develop a three year plan to address the mutually agreed strategic initiatives; and
  • strengthen the contribution of higher education to the provincial economy.

Members of the Western Cape Government joined CHEC representatives on the Barcelona leg of a study tour to the North-West and North-east of England and Barcelona in 2009. The tour enabled the group to study best practice with regard to higher education partnerships with government, business and civil society (click here to view the Report to the CHEC Board: Preliminary visit to Barcelona, 2009).

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Joint Task Team

The partnership is co-ordinated by the Joint Task team, co-chaired by Professor Shaun Pather of UWC on behalf of CHEC and Dr Laurine Platzky, Deputy Director-General in the Department of the Premier for the WCG. The Joint Task Team consists of a representative from each of the universities, the CHEC CEO and representatives from each of the Provincial Strategic Groups.

Programme of Action

The current first Programme of Action was designed to align with the Provincial Strategic Plan 2014 - 2019. Four areas for engagement were identified:

  1. Resilience, Human Settlements and Climate Change
  2. Digital Innovation for Inclusive Development
  3. Social Inclusion, Youth and Skills Development
  4. Knowledge Partnerships.

Click here to view the Provincial Strategic Plan 2014 - 2019.

Joint Research Programme

Single institutional and multi-institutional projects are funded annually through the Joint Task Team.

Two newsletters list and / or summarise completed and newly-funded projects. Click here for the 2015 Newsletter and click here for the first 2016 Newsletter.

Other collaborations with the Western Cape Government:

  • The George- Knysna Railway Line
  • Development of a road safety implementation programme for the Western Cape
  • The Premier's Council for Skills, the Technical Working Group and various task teams
  • Africa Day Celebrations, 25 May 2016

Partnership with the City of Cape Town

Following a successful colloquium with the City of Cape Town in November 2007, a joint task team was constituted to take this partnership forward through the identification of strategic projects between CHEC and the City of Cape Town. Proposals for projects were developed in the fields of human resources, ICT and the physical environment. These areas were endorsed at a follow-up meeting with the leadership of the City and the universities on 20 October 2008 (view report), at which a Collaboration Protocol was signed. (View the Collaboration Protocol.)

The purpose of the Collaboration Protocol is to:

  • Achieve growth and development related to social, economic and environmental goals within the citys boundaries and to realise the full potential of the city;
  • Build a more skilled and skilful citizenry, equipped to contribute effectively to the development of our democracy and the growth of the economy;
  • Consolidate Cape Town's status as a 'rising urban star' and the prime centre for higher education in Africa.

Standing Committee.

This partnership is co-ordinated by a Standing Committee which is jointly chaired by Ms Lois Dippenaar of UWC for CHEC and Ms Carol Wright, Manager: Development Information, for the City of Cape Town. Representatives from each of the universities sit on the Standing Committee.

Programme of Action

The four areas for engagement are:

  1. Building knowledge and practice networks
  2. Joint annual research programme
  3. Using and building CCT and CHEC staff resources and university students' capacity
  4. Undertaking Joint Strategic Engagement and Planning

Joint Annual Research Programme

CHEC's joint research programme with the City of Cape Town kicked off in 2015. As with the CHEC - WCG partnership, both single institutional and multi-institutional projects are funded. Click here to view a summary of the CCT - CHEC joint research projects for 2015 and 2016 that lists the researchers and their projects funded for 2016.

A second call for research proposals was circulated in June 2016.


Summary of Awarded Projects - 2017



Accelerate Cape Town

In 2015, CHEC became a member of Accelerate Cape Town, a business leadership organisation representing top-tier corporate business in the Cape Town City region.

World Design Capital 2014

CHEC's member universities are planning a number of projects that will support activities related to the World Design Capital 2014 events.

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