Dr Nico Wilke

Dr Nico Wilke

South Africa

University of Pretoria

Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering

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Work and Research

I co-chaired the Seventh South African Conference!on Computational and Applied Mechanics (SACAM), which was held in 2010 at the University of Pretoria.SACAM is the biennial conference for the South African Association for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics(SAAM) that is affiliated with the International Union for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM). Although this conference is not central in my research field there is a small optimization community in SAAM.Hosting this conference added immense understanding and appreciation to the value added when promoting science and technology amongst the eleven traditional and six comprehensive universities in South Africa.

Fields Of Expertise

Mechanical Engineering

Research Profiles

My vision for the future of research at UP and how I will contribute to this development

Research for the future at UP should not be seen as an aim in itself but rather as the consequence of an extensive teaching program from undergraduate to PhD level. Research is not about ONLY unlocking the potential of a researcher but much more importantly about unlocking the potential of the students. Research should be focused on realizing the maximum potential of the students that enter the university, which is primarily achieved through world class and mindful teaching. Each course should be concept driven with the focus on a crystal clear understanding of the material i.e. critical thinking driven not  knowledge driven. UP should be the leaders in transformation playing an active transformative and not passive transformative role. Post ' 94 transformation has been passive. Transformation should be about identifying the hurdles for first generation students and academics. This is seldom technical, which is where universities often focus their energy, but mostly personal within families. The pressure experienced  at home to sustain and support extended families after qualifications are earned is often immense. This combined with underdeveloped practical decision-making, due to unschooled role models from a young age, is the key to unlocking the academic potential of the entire country.