University of Pretoria VIP Program

, Pretoria , South Africa
South Africa
Latitude: -25.754500
Longitude: 28.231400

The Institution

The University of Pretoria (UP) is a leading research university in South Africa and one of the largest in the country. UP offers more than 1,800 academic programs across seven campuses. The academic programmes of the University are offered in nine faculties, as well as a business school. In 1996, the University of Pretoria became the university with the highest research output in South Africa.

The Program

The most exciting benefit of VIP for undergraduate teaching is the opportunity for students to gain worthwhile practical experience. The programme also enables UP to build stronger relationships with industry partners which promotes graduate placement and future innovation. The director of the UP pilot programme cut her teeth as part of the iTransport team at Georgia Tech in 2010 – 2011. As such, the bar is set high for what VIP can achieve at UP. The implementation of VIP at UP differs from most other consortium partners in that it cannot be formally integrated into the curriculum. This places a totally new spin on recruitment and incentive for students as their contribution does not add to their academic record. We have had to be creative in our approach of cementing VIP as an extremely valuable extra-curricular activity that can contribute to your studies, even though it is not a formal module. Another difference is the relative shortage of “on-campus” graduates at the university. This means that most teams will not have very senior members. This requires a different approach to team leadership development.


Dr. Nadia M. Viljoen

VIP Teams

  • The improvement of the transport of students and staff on and around campus, primarily by addressing issues around public transport accessibility.

  • To develop new, reliable manufacturing and self-testing methods for systems and components in harsh environments

  • To improve the turnaround time of the development phase of Power-purchase Agreements, minimise downtime of these assets and proactively monitor system health of existing photo-voltaic arrays.

  • To extend the sensing capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by fully exploiting the capabilities of sensors and systems which exploit the electromagnetic spectrum.

  • Develop and implement a fixed wing UAV to be used as a pre-emptive measure to stop rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park
  • To develop a calibrated, validated Multi-Agent Transport Simulation model for the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality.

  • Design and apply biofuel technologies for domestic use.

  • Initial development of a hydroponic measurement and control system (Nutridoctor) to enable vegatable production with the aim of achieving a zero nutrient effluent.