Applied Research

Applied research at Polytechnics Mauritius is a humble attempt to create a stir in students to stretch their interest, curiosity and sense of experimentation and adventure. In this journey, our research and analytics cell and academic faculty will act as facilitators, motivators and mentors to push the boundaries and put students in touch with industry stakeholders. This manifests in a platform to address industry’s unresolved issues or problems that need look into and that until now, had been put on the backburner pending more resources. Thus, students align their interest to real-world problems that needs more than an easy fix and deserves a closer and deeper gauge.

In short, Polytechnics Mauritius students and faculty work in collaboration with local community and social partners linking academic and skills endeavours to solve community problems. Faculty also take a lead role to work directly with industry to bring solutions and generate impact. The research, while mainly focused on practical issues, can adopt a number of different forms based on the nature of the issue at hand.

From stakeholder meetings to impact surveys, from action-based workshops to one-on-one discussions or research forums, the start is not pre-scripted but evolves organically based on needs and demands.

A different approach to research, it’s all about action and implementation

The Research and Analytics Department is the connector between industry and Polytechnics Mauritius with the bold objective of aligning programmes to market demand. As part of our commitment towards our students, we ensure that our programmes are evidence-based, sustainable and future-focused while keeping our institution competitive.

Polytechnics Mauritius is committed to build long-term sustainable partnerships in key markets with like-minded institutions and industry partners to establish integrated research and academic activities. Similarly, as a Unit mandated to promote research and innovation the Research and Analytics Department endorses joint research activities among our staff, both academics and non-academics, along with our students and supported by the industry with the aim of enhancing our students’ analytical and critical thinking, a value-added feature in a world where demonstrated skills and competencies are the main currency of employment and career progression, not necessarily knowledge for knowledge sake. There also lies our competitive advantage as a Polytechnics.

To demarcate itself in the High TVET ecosystem, Polytechnics Mauritius engages into action-based research to churn out qualitative and quantitative data across sectors and sub-sectors of the economy. The research triggers an empirical based loop that ties back in the needs and demands of industry. Through consulted action, it does simply allow us to draw up an action list of what programmes to launch but rather why, what and how to launch it so that it addresses the skill gaps. After all, the proof is in the pudding! The devil is in the detail not simply thinking that launching a programme solves all problems. This initial foray is met with multiple touch points with industry throughout the lifecycle of the student and the programme to constantly tweak and re-energize the fault lines that will inevitably appear during the implementation of the programme, classes, simulations, internships, traineeships etc.

More specifically, action-based research allows us to collect data through Stakeholders meeting, workshops and forums and through the Industry Advisory Council. These data give way to curriculum development and forecast the immediate and future needs of the job market. Such an approach also gives us an indication of where we need to readjust our syllabus and channel our investment in the high-tech environment that new emerging industries would require in the future. Over all, Polytechnics is here to work on high-skills environments that demand a practice-led approach where students, mentors and facilitators roll up their sleeves and get into the action. Not just lecture from a whiteboard or a PowerPoint! Certainly not.

Call to Action

As an industry partner, if the above speaks to you and compels you for action, we are but a phone call away.

Feel free to drop in a line or have a chat with Narvada Boisemo Naiko on 460 0705 or nbnaiko@poly.ac.mu. Narvada will be pleased to assist you with the process to follow and based on your scale and scope of engagement, craft a unique partnership route for us to explore together.

As Nelson Mandela said, the time for action is now and we are waiting!

 

Skill Sector Studies

Rather than over-reliance on existing surveys and projects, Polytechnics Mauritius leans on existing research to build further as a means to dig deeper or go farther in the desired directions. Sources are many – MRIC, HRDC, Ministries, Central Statistics Office, EDB, MQA, HEC, international surveys and journals, to name a few.

Skills sector studies are a way that Polytechnics builds and adds intelligence connecting more blocks to the chain. Especially in areas and clusters of activity where PML is already active, students’ work-based learning, internships, traineeships, shadow projects are an incredible source of raw information. As nearly 2200 students spread out across Mauritius in internships almost a third to half of the year, the research cell and faculty visit employers interviewing various departments to get a better gauge of what, how, why things work they do. Some findings work their work into composite opinion pieces where the sector or sub-sector may later gain more information that enhances practice.

We are in the middle of it all. Until educational institutions precede or lag behind, large scale information asymmetry will persist. Chasing a moving target is a difficult process. As such, Polytechnics Mauritius accompanies companies with a view to assist in intelligence gathering that has utility value. Over the years, many stakeholder meetings have taken place. Our team has visited over 150 employers across all sectors of activity and will continue to do so.

At this time, our team is also active in collaborating with employers to submit research projects. For example, PML is working with PRODESIGN Sustainability and MEP Engineers to study the use of IoT and automation in the construction industry. PML is also collaborating with Graphene AI, a company specializing in AI applications and research in Mauritius

Research Projects

There are many calls for partnership between educational institutions and industry in Mauritius. The Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) is very active in this domain. At this time, our team is also active in collaborating with employers to submit research projects to the MRIC. For example, PML is working with PRODESIGN Sustainability and MEP Engineers to study the use of IoT and automation in the construction industry. PML is also collaborating with Graphene AI, a company specializing in AI applications and research in Mauritius, to study the effect of hyper-personalization on educational delivery and skills development through AI.

The Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology often calls for interested parties to collaborate with ADEA, UNESCO or the World Bank on research projects.

Such projects are also an opportunity to involve students as research assistants and encourage them to pursue individual projects. Some students have availed of such opportunities – whether it is to use IoT technology to measure river water levels, or automated lighting projects or participating in the Global Innovation Challenge by international academic partners. In 2021, students of the HTMi Switzerland programme at Montagne Blanche campus came 1st and 5th worldwide in a Global Challenge that brought five countries to compete. Beyond academics, such research opportunities allow students to stretch and grow in a multifaceted way. Faculty also get to experiment and grow professionally and personally.

 

The project is about setting up a Ground/Base Station that shall receive imagery data from MIR-SAT1 – the first Mauritian Satellite that was launched recently through the KiboCUBE Program. The base station will conduct digital image processing and big data analysis to study patterns and do prediction in relation to:
– Natural Calamities
– Traffic Congestions
– Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
The study thereof, shall help in capacity building for future studies and help in long term solutions development to the above-mentioned topics of national importance.

 

MRIC Pole of Innovation for The Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) for the improvement of the construction industry.

MRIC Pole of Innovation for The Application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) for the improvement of the construction industry.Using IoT technologies to transform the construction industry creates pathways to higher productivity, quality, and safety in the construction processes together with lower environmental impact, and to increased sustainability, fitness-for-use and resilience in the resulting infrastructure. While notable gains are being made possible by the full deployment of IoT, in the longer term it is data-driven techniques and models based on AI and its subsets (machine learning, deep learning, and computer vision) that will deliver lasting value in the construction industry. It is desirable to improve construction processes and save time on menial or time-consuming tasks in addition to reducing the physical workload on the construction site through automation and mass customization thereby removing barriers to cost reduction in the industry. This project was submitted jointly by Pro-Design and Polytechnics Mauritius and is still under evaluation at MRIC.

IoT Hydroponic System – Student ProjectThis project is about an IoT Hydroponic System where the plants will be fed with its nutrients and water automatically with Arduino and some sensors. During this recent COVID-19 pandemic, planters were not able to harvest or monitor their crops. Moreover, as a tropical island where flash floods and torrential rains are common, lecturers and students are joining hands to resolve the problems. Hydroponic growing need to be controlled. As an indoor growing method, it requires fine management of environmental factors such as heat and humidity. This soilless style of growing depends on careful control of nutrient dosing and water flow. This project seeks to address several challenges: usage of land, food shortage, prevention of crop damage during natural disasters, efficient harvesting time and brought together Paul Pierre Adrien, Dussoye Rishab, Abdoolrahaman Djawaad of the IoT cohort.