Sasol Solar Challenge Session

Presenter: Mr Paul Bisogno, Sasol Solar Challenge

Presenter: Dr Niesing Christi, The Innovation Hub


The SA Sasol Solar Challenge (SSC) is an eclectic collaborative platform showcasing the advancement of solar technologies and their application demonstrated by academics, budding technological entrepreneurs and renewable energy enthusiasts. The SSC is an internationally accredited Solar Challenge calendar event accredited to the ISF and FIA delivering a highly competitive showcase where ‘brain sport’ and fierce competition is the order of the day.

Being SA’s sixth bi-annual Solar Challenge and ‘10 year anniversary’ since the inaugural 2008 Challenge, the 2018 event will seek to host 15 international teams, 10 local teams and a sustainability of 15 plus fully Electric vehicles.

An intervention running parallel with the Solar Challenge is the Dialogues Programme that facilitates a collective dialogue to match identified needs in communities with solutions available through the creation of a collaborative science/stakeholder platform created through the Solar Challenge. The purpose of the Dialogues programme is to enable long term measurable sustainable community development through the collective planning, implementation, measurement and evaluation of community focused interventions. These interventions are planned from a collaborative stakeholder platform, but facilitates sustainable development through inception and implementation with community ownership as main driver. The Dialogues programme plays a facilitation role throughout the process and monitors and evaluates real impact over time.


Mr Paul Bisogno, The Innovation Hub

Paul Bisogno joined The Innovation Hub (TIH) in 2006 and began a career in support of innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship as part of a dedicated and focused team building Africa’s first Science Park accredited to the International Association of Science Parks (IASP) under the leadership of Dr. Neville Commins.

His role in interacting with over 85 Multinational Companies through to Micro and Mediums sized enterprises gave him access to a plethora on engagement platforms while providing support and leveraging collaboration within the ‘Triple Helix Model’. The INNOV8 business platform formed the core of this development.

In 2008, Paul as The Innovation Hub Exec and corporate sponsor, held the first SA Solar Challenge   together with the Advanced Energy Foundation (AEF), running 5 local and international Solar Car teams around SA. He has been part of the challenge ever since and in 2016 introduced the ‘special projects desk’ focusing on developing and engaging with communities through a ‘dialogues program’ along the route creating  ‘2500km of legacy’.

An avid supporter of ‘brain sport’ and the development of young minds in the field of STEM, Paul has taken over the running of the Challenge until 2022. To enhance the building of ‘2500 km’s of legacy’ Paul has registered the ‘Dialogues program’ as a PHD Research project within the AUTHeR (Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the North-West University (NWU) under the study leadership of Dr. Christi Niesing.

Paul has studied and practiced in the fields of Psychology, Neuro-Kinesiology holds an MBA from the University of Hull (UK), is a registered Chartered Marketer CM (SA) and is presently registered as a PHD student with AUTHeR (Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the North-West University (NWU).

Dr Christi Niesing, The Innovation Hub

Dr Christi Niesing started her career at the NWU in 2008 with the appointment as project manager of the Holding Hands income-generating community project. She received recognition for her contribution towards excellence in community engagement from various institutions. She is currently a lecturer at AUTHeR (Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Research at the Faculty of Health Sciences), Faculty of Health Sciences NWU.

Her research focus is the facilitation of sustainable community development through development interventions with a special interest in the development of instruments to measure and evaluate real impact of interventions over time. She received her PhD in Business administration at the NWU in February 2017.

In her thesis, a conceptual framework for sustainable community development the she utilized the case study of the Holding Hands income-generating community project to study the development, implementation and functioning of an income-generating community project to develop a framework for the development and implementation of future income-generating community projects.