Professor Rivett graduated from the Technische Universität München, Germany, in 1994 with a Dipl.-Ing.univ in Land Surveying. She received a scholarship for her in the then Department of Land Surveying, today Geomatics Department, at the University of Cape Town.
In 2002 she was employed in the Department of Civil Engineering and over the last two her research has focused on the application and use of ICTs (Information Communication Technologies) to support the delivery of basic amenities and services to under-resourced communities.
With the changing environment of engineering and a clear recognition of the need to improve the interface between applied science and the understanding of communities, her research has moved away from the traditional engineering space into aspects of society and engineering.
The innovative use of existing technologies – in her case mobile phones and other ICTs – offers the opportunity to create a virtual infrastructure between decision makers who require up-to-date and reliable information and stakeholders who can provide this information through appropriate technologies. The need for information cuts across disciplines and her contribution over the last decade has been to ‘connect the dots’ between the knowledge of specialists and the creation of a solution that offers an innovative approach to existing problems.
By introducing ICTs in seemingly unrelated fields, such as the health sector, service the water sector, she has been able to develop technologies that cross conventional boundaries of knowledge, decision making and stakeholder engagement.
Professor Rivett leads the iCOMMS research team, which focuses on understanding the use of ICT4D systems and making them benefit society by engaging proactively with academia, and rural communities by implementing research findings and increasing impact beyond academic boundaries.