The DSI-NICIS National e-Science Postgraduate Teaching and Training Platform (NEPTTP) was launched in 2017 after the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) identified the need to establish a multi-institutional consortium in data science in South Africa. This platform exists to develop human capital, with the knowledge and skills to conduct cutting-edge research in the field of e-Science – in line with the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR), the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and others. The platform offers both MSc and MA degrees.
The DSI, through the National Integrated Cyber Infrastructure System (NICIS) funds the platform, comprising six universities. The University of the Witwatersrand is the administrative hub of the consortium that includes the Universities of Limpopo, Pretoria and Venda as well as North-West University and Sol Plaatje University.
Sol Plaatje University (SPU), University of Limpopo (UL), University of Pretoria (UP), University of Venda (UniVen) all offer the Master of Science degree and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) offers both the Master of Science as well as the Master of Arts and North-West University (NWU) offers the Master of Arts.
The first cohort of around 30 students enrolled for the Master of Science in e-Science and the Master of Arts in e-Science degrees in 2018. In 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, the platform enrolled a further 120 students.
These programmes are unique because they traverse faculties – students come from disciplines including Computer Science, Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Actuarial Sciences, Physics, Statistics, Engineering, Social Sciences, and Public Health.
“We foresee the demand for such degrees increasing exponentially over the next few years,” says Benjamin Rosman, NEPTTP Director and Professor in the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Wits.
Our graduates are being employed at well-known organisations including Absa Group, Amend.org, CSIR, Deloitte, IBM, Rand Merchant Bank, Standard Bank, amongst others.