Sugar Milling Research Institute NPC

Reference: JA190521


The Sugar Milling Research Institute (SMRI) is a world leader in the science and technology of sugarcane processing. The strategic objective of the SMRI is to create the innovation necessary to ensure the continued prosperity of the SA sugar milling industry. The Institute is hosting a public/private partnership funded by the DST and the sugarcane processing industry to implement data analytics-driven projects in sugar factories to drive productivity and efficiency. This programme, Sugarcane Technology Enabling Programme Sugar Factory 4.0 (STEP-SF4.0) includes among its objectives:


          Developing and implementing software and hardware to be embedded in factory production systems to provide real-time information and analyses of operating parameters and predict effects on operating efficiencies. Such systems will predict situations leading to inefficiencies and assist operating staff to prevent loss-causing incidents or operating regimes.

          Fast-tracking advanced systems and skills development in a complex agro-processing environment, to supplement scarce sugar technology skills.


We are seeking to appoint high calibre, innovative, self-motivated individuals to join our dynamic team for fixed contract research internships to assist in the implementation of STEP-SF4.0.


The internships will be for six months, starting in June 2019, with the potential to be extended for a further six months subject to project resourcing needs. Internships will be based at the SMRI in Durban, with candidates travelling to sugar mills as required by their projects. A limited number of candidates may be based at a sugar mill in Mpumulanga province.


Project focus areas allocated to research interns will be dependent on intern training and backgrounds i.e.:


          Candidates with a process engineering background may be involved in factory process investigations, including data collection and processing, or sample collection and analysis.

          Candidates with qualifications in IT system engineering, control and automation or instrumentation may be involved in hardware and firmware surveys and supporting implementation of new IT systems or sensors.

          Candidates with qualifications in data analytics may assist with data collection, collation, cleaning and analytics. Candidates with experience in software development may be involved in dashboard development.


Candidates will work under the supervision of sugar technologists, factory staff, IT system experts or data analytics experts, according to project requirements and their particular field of training.


v Required minimum education

BTech or BSc (Chemical Engineering, Electrical/Control Systems or Mechanical Engineering, Data Science, Computer Science, Software Engineering)


v Work Experience

This internship aims to provide experiential training for candidates and therefore no prior work experience is required. However, some working experience in a relevant context, and especially evidence of an aptitude for research (e.g. vacation work, previous internships or undergraduate research modules) would be an advantage.


v Required Skills

Articulate and fluent in English;

Strong verbal and written communication skills;

Strong skills in word-processing, spreadsheeting;

For data science candidates, skills in data cleaning and analytics;

For software engineering candidates, skills in dashboard development or data visualisation;

Enthusiasm for teamwork and evidence of ability to work well in a team;

Self-motivation, self-reliance and a willingness to take responsibility where appropriate.


To apply for one of the abovementioned positions you are required to submit the following:

     One-page Resume quoting the relevant reference number and detailing your name, qualification(s) and experience in relation to each of the specific/minimum job requirements.

     Short Curriculum Vitae of maximum 3 pages detailing your relevant qualification(s) and experience.


Applications must reach the SMRI on or before 16h00 on Friday 7 June 2019 at the following e-mail address:



If you have not been contacted by Friday 14 June 2019, please consider your application as unsuccessful.

The SMRI reserves the right not to make an appointment.