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Four new SARChI research chairs awarded to UP
3 September 2015

The University of Pretoria (UP) has been awarded four new research chairs under the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI). The Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Naledi Pandor, announced the establishment of 42 new research chairs to expand the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) at a function held in Cape Town on 2 September 2015. What makes this round of awards exceptional is that all 42 new research chairs were awarded to women scientists.

The new research chairs awarded to UP are:

Prof Erika de Wet: SARChI Chair in International Constitutional Law

Prof de Wet is the Co-director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) in the Faculty of Law at UP. The examination of the legal consequences of the exercise of public power by international organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) for states and for those who live within their territories will be central to the research conducted under the auspices of the new research chair. Prof De Wet is a NRF B1-rated researcher.

Prof Brenda Wingfield: SARChI Chair in Fungal Genomics

Prof Wingfield is the Deputy Dean for Research in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at UP. Her research focus is on fungal population genetics and genomics, which includes research on genetic variation within, as well as between species. She is a NRF A-rated scientist and one of the Research Leaders of the Department of Science and Technology (DST)/NRF Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology.

Prof Wanda Markotter: SARChI Chair in Animal Infectious Diseases (zoonoses)

Prof Markotter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology. Her research on the epidemiology and pathogenicity of rabies and rabies-related lyssa viruses unique to the African continent is well known and has contributed to the development of new diagnostic tools to make the diagnosis of rabies in developing countries more efficient.

Prof Namrita Lall: SARChI Chair in Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Prof Lall is an Associate Professor in UP’s Department of Plant Science. She is an expert in Medicinal Plant Science and received the highest South African honour, the Order of Mapungubwe (Bronze), for her outstanding contribution to medical science. She has also been the recipient of various other prestigious awards for her outstanding scientific contributions to advancing science and building the knowledge base in the field of indigenous knowledge systems.

The SARChI initiative was launched in 2006 as a strategic intervention of the South African government to increase research capacity in science by developing human capacity and to stimulate the generation of new knowledge. The initiative is led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF).

 

- Author Ansa Heyl
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Prof Brenda Wingfield, Prof Wanda Markotter, Prof Namrita Lall and Prof Eric Buch (absent Prof Erika de Wet)