Dr Thandi Mgwebi

Dr Thandi Mgwebi

Dr Thandi Mgwebi is the Group Executive: Business Advancement of the National Research Foundation of South Africa.

Prior to her current role, she served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation, and Internationalisation at Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). Through these strategic roles, she has gained extensive experience and is an internationally recognised leader in higher education.

Dr Mgwebi has championed partnerships with many international organisations inside and outside of Africa. Her commitment to international collaboration is apparent in the many roles she plays in various committees, such as her role as a Council Member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Leadership Council; the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences; and various other national and international committees. In her previous tenure at the NRF, she championed partnerships with Fulbright, the British Council, the Newton Fund and others. She also played a pivotal role in driving the transformation of the DSI-NRF South African Research Chairs Initiative leading to the appointment of women Chairs, known as SARChI 42.

She possesses a profound understanding of developments in South Africa’s higher education landscape, complemented by a track record of managing complex portfolios. Her experience in building and managing knowledge networks and partnerships for change underscores her capacity to leverage international and national support for context-tailored initiatives and co-investment models in support of research and innovation.

Dr Mgwebi completed her postdoctoral research in Virology at the University of Cape Town and holds a PhD (Medicine) in Cell and Developmental Biology from UCT; a Tertiary Educational Management degree in Higher Education Management from the University of Melbourne, Australia; and a Management Development Programme certificate from the University of Stellenbosch Business School. She received her undergraduate BSc degree from the University of Transkei (now WSU). She also obtained a certificate in Business Sustainability from the University of Cambridge, UK.