SOLTRAIN
SOLTRAIN:
The Solar Thermal Training & Demonstration Initiative

[Zimbabwe] University of Zimbabwe re-launches Master of Science Renewable Energy

Written/submitted by Tawanda Mushiri and Samson Mhlanga on 17 October 2018
The relaunch of University of Zimbabwe's Master of Science Renewable Energy

First launched in 1996 and then suspended, University of Zimbabwe’s Faculty of Engineering has relaunched its Master of Science Renewable Energy (MRE).

Energy is essential to economic growth and poverty reduction in Zimbabwe and the national drive to eradicate poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires skilled professionals to manage and implement energy development projects. While basic knowledge is imparted in the undergraduate program, there is need for specialization to successfully implement renewable energy projects.

The serious energy security challenges being faced by the country point to increased demand for renewable energy experts, preferably at postgraduate level, who would service all sectors related to demand and supply of energy in Zimbabwe.

The academic programme was suspended by the University in 2012 due to dwindling numbers of lecturers and supervisors who were qualified to offer MSc programmes. Recently however, the Department of Mechanical Engineering engaged partners in the region and beyond, to provide qualified complementary personnel as a short-term measure to allow the programme to run while staff development efforts are intensified to support the training of academics in order to attain PhD qualifications in the renewable energy field.

The partners include:

  • Africa EU Renewable Energy Co-operation Programme (RECP).
  • European Union Energy Initiative
  • University of Dar es Salaam
  • Technical University of Munich (TUM)
  • Makerere University
  • SADC-WaterNet

The purpose of the MSc is to provide high quality postgraduate education in the field of renewable energy so that participants develop proficiency in renewable energy project design, implementation, operation and maintenance, as well as in crucial phases of policy generation. There is also scope for focussed research on renewable energy-related topics.

The re-launched masters degree builds on the Mechanical Engineering Department’s other efforts towards the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, its participation in the Solar Thermal Training and Development Initiative (SOLTRAIN). Through the initiative, the department will be able to capitalise on the programme’s regional knowledge network, as well as have the use  of the SOLTRAIN solar thermal demonstration trailer as well as access to various solar thermal demonstration sites. This will contribute immensely to solar thermal-related learning and research.

The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Energy and Power Development was the guest of Honour where more than 120 participants attended the launch earlier this year.