School of Engineering


Recognition for Engineering Professor’s Intellectual Property Contributions

Recognition for Engineering Professor’s Intellectual Property Contributions

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The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has recognised Professor Hongjun Xu from the School of Engineering’s Discipline of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering as the Top Intellectual Property (IP) Creator at UKZN.

Xu and awardees from other institutions received Intellectual Property Creators’ Incentives grants from the Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, at a dinner hosted by the National Intellectual Property Management Office Creator in March. Recipients were selected based on research and development that resulted in IP with commercial and/or social impact potential from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2018. The grants aim to support an innovation agenda that addresses poverty, inequality and unemployment.

According to the Department, this initiative aims to ‘encourage IP creators at public research institutions to disclose IP to their institution’s office of technology transfer at the point of publication.’

‘Professor Xu has confirmed our Engineering degree’s status in South Africa and the world,’ said Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Professor Albert Modi. ‘He works as a member of a team and although he is a prolific publisher in his field, he also believes in innovation – the application of ideas that are novel and useful.’

Xu has been a staff member at UKZN since 2002, having completed postdoctoral research at the Institution. He has supervised or co-supervised more than 30 postgraduate students and has authored or co-authored 86 journal papers while at the University.

The patents he has filed while at UKZN include a space-time labelling technique for wireless communication systems, a receive decorrelator for a wireless communications system, and a multiple rank modulation system. Xu’s research focuses on coding and modulation in wireless communications, and his research and development have important application in 5G or even new 6G wireless communications

‘I am proud of being from UKZN, and I hope this recognition will contribute to my research methodology,’ said Xu.

He advised up-and-coming researchers who hope to translate their research into innovations to employ a step-by-step approach to apply theory to applications.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Supplied by Department of Science and Technology