The provincial government is slowly recognising the critical role a university can play in helping it carry out its mandate.
A team of government researchers recently attended a workshop conducted by the school of environmental and health sciences at North West University's Mafikeng campus to learn more on what they can do to improve the welfare of communities.
The university's communications officer, Phenyo Mokgothu, said the workshop looked at research relevance and innovation for the development of the province's communities.
It was held in line with the recent vision, accepted by university management, to position Mafikeng campus as a "balanced teaching, learning, research and community-based institution with a focus on rural development", Mokgothu said.
"Among others goals, the workshop seeks to forge relations between the university and provincial government for research activities that will bring benefits to the communities."
Efe Useh, from the university's nursing department, facilitated the workshop and representatives from both the school and government departments attended.
"Through this platform we also want to put much emphasis on the issue of inter-professional research and highlight the fact that all disciplines have a point of interest and we should come together and share ideas," Useh said.
Research officials from the departments of agriculture, education, human settlements, social development and the entire research directorate from the premier's office participated in the deliberations.
"After lengthy discussions and presentations of research in helping government expedite service delivery, there was a general agreement that researchers and students from the school of environmental and health sciences and the university at large should liaise with government departments for the development of the province," Mokgothu said.
University authorities further said government departments that did not participate were also welcome so that the forum could grow bigger and attract more ideas that would in turn benefit communities.