Prof Nigel Bennett, the current incumbent of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) / National Research Foundation (NRF) Joint Research Chair (SARChl) in the field of Mammalian Behavioural Ecology and Physiology at the University of Pretoria (UP), successfully won its bid for the third and last five-year cycle. He has held this Chair for the past ten years.
Prof Bennett's research primarily focuses on African mole-rats as research models for investigating socially induced reproductive suppression and also the ecological constraints that have forged sociality in subterranean mammals.
He occupies the Joint SARChl Chair, as well as the UP Austin Roberts Chair of African Mammalogy. He has published 325 research articles in international peer-reviewed journals, including papers in Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Advances in the Study of Behavior and Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
Prof Bennett is a fellow of the Zoological Society of London, the Royal Society of South Africa and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). He has served as President and Vice-President of the Zoological Society of Southern Africa and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Zoology, London and Editor of Biology Letters. He received the Chancellor's Medal for Research in 2003 and 2011 and the Zoological Society gold medal in 2008, as well as the Havenga Prize for Biological Sciences for his research on living material. In 2015 he received the NSTF award for research capacity development over the last 5 to 10 years by an individual, sponsored by ESKOM.
He holds an A2-rating from the NRF and in 2017 he was also elected as a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.
The Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Prof Jean Lubuma, also said that 'this is a considerable recognition of what this Chair has achieved to attract and retain excellence in research and innovation at UP, specifically by increasing research capacity through the development of human capital and stimulating the generation of new knowledge, in accordance with the objectives of the SARChI Chairs initiative. We thank you for making this Chair a powerful instrument to strengthen the visibility of Biological Sciences cluster at UP.'