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New Chairperson: SA NMO Committee to IIASA

The NRF is pleased to announce the appointment of Prof Ursula Scharler, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, as Chairperson of South Africa’s National Member Organisation (NMO) of the International Institute of Applied Systems (IIASA), situated in Laxenburg, Austria.  Prof Scharler will lead the newly-appointed NMO committee members for the period 2017-2020, and which is comprised of representatives of the NRF and DST, senior academics, and other stakeholders.

South Africa’s strategic engagement with IIASA, with the adhering function through the NRF, supported by DST, serves to position South Africa at the forefront of Systems Analysis in Africa by having access to programmes affiliated with IIASA at national and international levels, and supported by the Minister of Science and Technology. Within this framework the NRF has established a NMO Committee that steers and promotes research and training opportunities in South Africa.

She has contributed significantly to the reformulation of the South African Young Scientists Summer Programme (SA-YSSP)  into the Southern African Centre for Systems Analysis (SASAC) which was launched in 2016, hosted by a consortium of the Universities of the Western Cape, Limpopo, the Witwatersrand, and Stellenbosch University. The SA-YSSP, preceding SASAC, was a short-term (3 months), high level PhD training programme modelled against its established sister programme at IIASA (YSSP). Hosted by the University of the Free State during 2012 to 2015, Prof Scharler was accepted as a supervisor through a competitive process.

The newly established SASAC is a long-term programme to train South African PhD students in the field of systems analysis over 3 years (with a total investment trajectory of 9 years), again in partnership with IIASA.

The NMO Committee will also contribute to the national strategy of developing systems analysis capacity and establishing systems analysis as a research approach in the country.

Other members of the Committee include:

  • Dr Brilliant Petja, Water Research Commission
  • Prof Tolullah Oni, University of Cape Town
  • Dr Debra Roberts, eThekwini Municipality, Durban
  • Dr Mandy Lombard, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • Prof Graham Jewitt, University of Kwazulu-Natal
  • Prof Voster Muchenje, University of Fort Hare
  • Prof Frans Swanepoel, University of Pretoria
  • Dr Happy Sithole, Centre for High performance Computing
  • Dr Ursula Scharler, University of Kwazulu-Natal
  • Prof Colleen Vogel, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Prof Mary Scholes, University of the Witwatersrand
  • Mr Daan du Toit, Department of Science and Technology
  • Dr Gansen Pillay, National Research Foundation
  • Dr Aldo Stroebel, National Research Foundation
  • Dr Sepo Hachigonta, National Research Foundation
  • Prof Thandi Mgwebi, University of the Western Cape


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