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Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane Launches 18 New Research Chairs

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Minister Kubayi-Ngubane recently announced 18 new Research Chairs under the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI); three (3)  of which are jointly funded by the Nedbank Community Trust and the National Research Foundation (NRF), an agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

SARChI is a strategic intervention by government to attract and retain research excellence and innovation at universities, science councils and national research facilities. The initiative also aims to foster transformation of the science cohort in terms of race and gender. To date the initiative has, of the 203 operational chairs, 37% (80) female Research Chairholders, while Black Research Chairholders accounting for 24% of all operational chairs.

Speaking about the launch of the 18 Chairs, Minister Kubayi-Ngubane noted the progress SARChI has achieved but urged for more effort in achieving greater transformation. The Minister also hailed the collaboration between government and Nedbank and universities as a good example of public-private partnerships that should be enhanced to accelerate transformation within the NSI, and strengthen investment in science and technology.

The three new research chairs co-funded by the Nedbank Community Trust and the National Research Foundation (NRF) are aligned with the National Development Plan, and are headed by female researchers in line with Government’s transformation agenda.  The chairs are in energy materials, cardio-metabolic health, and substance abuse and population mental health, will be based at Wits University, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.

The addition of the 18 new Research Chairs increases the number of chairs awarded under SARChI from 216 to 234 chairs, and increases the number of chairs held by female researchers from the current 80 to 95 chairs.

Dr Makobetsa Khati, Executive Director: Research Chairs and Centres of Excellence, National Research Foundation said “Nedbank, and the NRF share a deep commitment to research excellence, the transformation agenda, and the knowledge that science and technology can make an immense contribution in improving the quality of life of all South Africans. It is these shared values and commitments that have allowed for this joint funding of the NDP aligned research chairs.”

“The 18 new SARChI research chairs speaks to the commitment that the DST and the NRF have in attracting and retaining world class research excellence in South Africa and in advancing the transformation agenda” concluded Dr. Khati.

The CEO of Nedbank Mr. Mike Brown said “Nedbank’s purpose is to use our financial expertise to do good for individuals, families, businesses and society, and our R20 million sponsorship of the Research Chairs over the past 10 years, in partnership with the National Research Foundation and the Department of Science and Technology, represents an excellent example of how we deliver on our purpose.”

“We have partnered with these centres of research excellence over the past 10 years, because we understand the value and importance of effective academic research and how it can act as a catalyst for the sustainable growth of our country’s knowledge economy.  This, in turn, is imperative for the transformation of South Africa and socio-economic development that benefits all South Africans” said Mr. Brown.

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Issued by: the National Research Foundation

For more information contact:

Palesa Mokoena at palesa.mokoena@nrf.ac.za or 012 481 4058

About the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI):

SARChI is a strategic intervention of the South African government designed to attract and retain research excellence and innovation at South African public universities, Science Councils and National Research Facilities. In particular, SARChI is aimed at increasing scientific research capacity through the development and training of human capacity and stimulating the generation of new knowledge. SARChI is also intended to support and advance transformation of the South African society in terms of demographics and the knowledge economy, so that there is equitable and inclusive participation in the generation of knowledge and the translation of such knowledge into socio-economic benefits.  

About NRF: The National Research Foundation (NRF) is an independent statutory body set up in accordance with the National Research Foundation Act. Its mandate is to support and promote research through funding, human resource development and the provision of the necessary research facilities in order to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of science and technology, including indigenous knowledge, and thereby contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of all South Africans.

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