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  • Prof Lungiswa Nkonki, Stellenbosch University

    Prof Lungiswa Nkonki holds a PhD in health economics from the University of Bergen, Norway (2012). Her current research addresses questions of economic evaluation of healthcare interventions, measuring inequality in health outcomes, and more generally, the functionality of health systems. She served as a panel member on the Competition Commission of South Africa’s Private first Healthcare Market Inquiry. Prof Nkonki holds an NRF Y rating and is a member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS).

  • Prof Nontuthuko Ntuli, University of Zululand

    Prof Nontuthuko Ntuli is a botanist with a PhD from the University of Zululand (2014). Her research interests concentrate on genetics and potential domestication practices in a range of leafy vegetables and fruit tree species. Prof Ntuli situates these questions within the broader parameters of food security. Her research has been funded by the NRF Thuthuka award.

  • Dr Bubele Papy Numbi, Mangosuthu University of Technology

    With a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Pretoria (2015), Dr Numbi’s research focuses on renewable energy, energy efficiency and management. He is particularly interested in utilizing optimization techniques to address energy problems in industrial sectors with heavy energy demands, such as mining. He holds a Y rating from the NRF and is registered with several professional engineering bodies.

  • Prof Oliver Nyambi, University of the Free State

    Prof Oliver Nyambi has a PhD in literary studies from the University of Stellenbosch (2013). His research focuses on crisis and humanitarian literatures from southern Africa. He holds a NRF Y1 rating, and has held a Duke Africa Initiative Fellowship at Duke University (2013), an African Humanities Program Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (2017) and a Georg Forster Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2018).

  • Dr Ellen Chenesai Rungani, University of Fort Hare

    Dr Ellen Chenesai Rungani has a PhD in business management from Northwest University (2018). Her research revolves around questions of entrepreneurship, finance, and management of small businesses. She also an expert in strategic planning development and review. In 2021 she was selected for the Future Professor Program through the Department of Higher Education South Africa (2021-2024) . She has held several academic leadership positions at the university of Fort Hare such as heading the Business management and being an acting deputy dean teaching and learning. She has also contributed in the setting up for the Gender based Violence Prevention Unit as the chairperson of the University of Fort Hare GBV task team. Dr Rungani is also involved in the EDHE where she mentors student entrepreneurs . She has also been a visiting scholar at the university of East London in the United Kingdom where she collaborated with scholars in the field of finance and entrepreneurship. Her work has been recognised through the awarding of accolades such as VC excellence award in community engagement as well as the VC excellence award in Teaching in the eLearning category. Her work has also been recognised outside South Africa where she received the Senior Fellowship (SFHEA) in 2023 a designation provided by the United Kingdom Teaching and Learning Professional Standards. Dr Rungani also received the TAU fellowship in 2024 through the Department of Higher Education South Africa. She has also received funding from EDHE for the Economic Activation Centre to support student entrepreneurship across disciplines.

  • Prof Sandy-Lynn Steenhuisen, University of the Free State

    Prof Sandy-Lynn Steenhuisen is a plant ecologist with a PhD in ecological sciences from the University of Kwazulu-Natal (2012). She is interested in plant/animal interactions. Prof Steenhuisen has a Y1 rating from the NRF, she was a Claude Leon fellow and an NRF Research Career Advancement fellow.

  • Dr Margreth Tadie, Stellenbosch University

    Dr Margreth Tadie’s PhD is in the field of chemical engineering (University of Cape Town, 2015). Her research centres on the mining industry, where she investigates the chemical behaviour of complex minerals with a view to reducing waste and also addressing the environmental impact of mining. She has won funding for her research from the mining industry through the South African Mineral and Metals Research Institute (SAMMRI), and is one of thirty early-career African scholars selected for the first cohort of the Future Leaders – African Independent Researchers’ programme, funded by the United Kingdom government’s Grand Challenge Research Fund.

  • Dr Christina Thobakgale , University of the Witwatersrand

    Dr Christina Thobakgale holds a PhD in immunology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2012) and her research focuses on cellular responses to HIV. Her work has influenced a shift in international HIV paediatric treatment guidelines. She holds a C rating from the NRF and is an alumna of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). She currently serves on editorial boards of international immunology and virology journals. Dr Thobakgale has secured research funding from the Wellcome Trust, Dan and Marjorie Sullivan Foundation, the Medical Research Council, the NRF and recently holds a Senior Fellowship with the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).


  • Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus, Stellenbosch University

    Our colleague, Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus (Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science at the University of Stellenbosch) passed away on Tuesday, 20 September 2022. At the time, Rehana was in Dresden, Germany, as an Eleanor Trefftz Fellow at TU Dresden with one of her graduate students. Part of the funding that made Dr Malgas-Enus’ teaching and research exchange possible, was provided by the DHET Future Professors Programme (FPP). Rehana was a wonderful and dedicated teacher, a committed scholar and an inspiring human being. She was also our dear friend and an irreplaceable and respected colleague to the fellows of the FPP. She will be sorely missed but not forgotten.


    Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus was a chemist with a PhD from Stellenbosch University (2011). She was head of the RME-NANO research group in the Department of Chemistry & Polymer Science. The RME-Nano research group focusses on the design and engineering of organic and inorganic nanomaterials, tailored for a specific function, and this opens up a wide range of applications ranging from catalysis, to water treatment, to biomedical uses such as cancer, coagulated blood-clotting and non-resistant TB treatment. Her research has been supported by NRF Thuthuka, as well as the NRF CSUR Grant. Malgas-Enus served on the editorial board of Springer Nature Applied Sciences, and as a member of the executive of the Catalysis Society of South Africa (CATSA). She was the founder and managing director of the Stellenbosch University Chemistry Outreach Initiative (SUNCOI), a program that enables high school learners from underprivileged schools to complete their practical chemistry experiments at the university’s fully equipped chemistry laboratory. Malgas-Enus won the NRF Excellence in Science Engagement Award in 2018.



  • Prof Melanie Murcott, University of Cape Town

    Prof Murcott is a legal scholar with an LLD from North-West University (2020). She is an Associate Professor in the Institute of Marine and Environmental Law of the Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town. She is enrolled as a practising attorney of the High Court of South Africa, and non-practising solicitor in England and Wales. Her research focuses on potential of environmental and administrative law to achieve societal transformation and justice in South Africa and beyond, particularly in response to the climate crisis. Her research led to the development of a novel legal theory: transformative environmental constitutionalism, discussed in her monologue published by Brill in 2022, with the same name. Prof Murcott’s scholarship has been cited in several judgments of the South African courts, including the Constitutional Court.

  • Prof Gordon O’Brien, University of Mpumalanga

    Prof Gordon O’Brien is an aquatic ecologist with a PhD from the University of Johannesburg (2012). His primary research interest is in ecology, ecological risk and fisheries, mainly exploring water resource protection. He is the founder and director of Rivers of Life, a water resources research and environmental solutions program. Prof O’Brien serves as the African representative for the World Fish Migration Foundation and is appointed as a scientist to contribute to the sustainable management of river flows in multiple African countries. He holds a C2 NRF rating.

  • Dr Uhuru Phalafala, Stellenbosch University

    Dr Uhuru Phalafala has a PhD in English literature from the University of Cape Town (2016). Her research interests include Cold War-era material cultures and archives, black internationalism, and African and diasporic intellectual traditions. She is a recipient of a NRF Thuthuka Grant and the Andrew Mellon ‘Unsettling Paradigms’ Grant (2020). Dr Phalafala co-edited Collected Poems: Keorapetse Kgositsile (1969-2018), to be published by the University of Nebraska’s African Poetry Book Fund. She is a fellow of the University of Michigan African Presidential Scholar Program, and the American Council of Learned Society’s African Humanities Program. Her forthcoming monograph, Keorapetse Kgositsile & the Black Arts Movement, reframes often unseen and unaccounted-for Black women as the bedrock of Black revolutionary thought and will be published by Boydell and Brewer (2021).

  • Prof Sharhidd Taliep, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

    Professor Sharhidd Taliep is an exercise scientist affiliated with the Department of Sport Management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. With a keen focus on cricket research and sport development, Professor Taliep’s expertise spans across various niche areas, including visual perception, biomechanics, player development, and strength and conditioning.

    Recognised for his scholarly contributions, Professor Taliep has been honoured with a SASUF research fund and held an Y2 NRF rating. Actively engaged in his professional domain, he holds notable roles such as serving on the Independent Scientific Advisory Committee to Cricket South Africa and the South African Football Association Cape Town Medical and Sports Science Committee.

    Furthermore, Professor Taliep contributes as a consultant for talent development and elite athlete programs, emphasising performance enhancement and injury prevention.

  • Dr Myalowenkosi Sabela, Durban University of Technology

    Dr Sabela is a chemist with a PhD from Durban University of Technology (2018). His primary research is on smart biodevice platforms in biosensor technology. His interests are incorporating nanostructured electrode materials into electroactive biomacromolecules to design biosensors for application in the environmental, food and health sectors. In 2014, he was awarded an NRF Freestanding Doctoral Scholarship, as well as an Erasmus Mundus research visit to Montpellier University in France (November 2014-August 2015). Dr Sabela is a recipient of Technology Innovation Agency funding (2016-2017) and an NRF Thuthuka Grant (2019–2021). He holds a Y2 NRF rating.

  • Dr Thabsile Thabethe, University of Pretoria

    Dr Thabethe is a physicist with a PhD from the University of Pretoria (2018). Her research focuses on the synthesis and characterisation of nuclear materials. Thabethe’s work is supported by the University of Pretoria’s Research Development Programme (2020), as well as several grants from the NRF (2014, 2017, 2018). Dr Thabethe has collaborations with the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, the Institute of Radiation Problems in Azerbaijan, as well as Busitema University in Uganda. Thabethe’s work extends to the introduction of children to STEM. She is the author of children’s educational books (for STEM) and she has published five Mathematics and Science books for toddlers. Dr Thabethe holds a Y2 NRF rating.

  • Dr Anisa Vahed, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), Suzhou, China

    Anisa Vahed is an Associate Professor of Practice in Educational Development at the Academy of Future Education, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) in Suzhou, China. She holds several prestigious distinctions, including being a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fulbright Fellow, an NRF Y2 Rated Researcher, a Future Professor Programme Scholar, and a Teaching Advancement at University (TAU) Fellow.

    Before her current position, Dr. Vahed worked as a Dental Technology academic, practitioner, and researcher in the Dental Sciences department at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in Durban, South Africa. She still maintains her connection with DUT as an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Operations and Quality in the  Faculty of Management Sciences  at DUT.

    Her research interests include virtual exchange programs to internationalize the curriculum, industry-based transdisciplinary projects to enhance students’ learning experiences, AI-enhanced teaching and learning, and promoting undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative inquiry. She has presented numerous papers, workshops, and seminars on her research interests in various national and international settings.

  • Prof Brian van Soelen, University of the Free State

    Prof Brian van Soelen is an astrophysicist with a PhD from the University of the Free State (2012). His primary research focuses on high energy gamma-ray sources, particularly gamma-ray binaries and active galactic nuclei, including how synergy can be formed between optical and gamma-ray observations. He is a member of the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) Collaboration, the operating body for the world’s most sensitive high energy telescope. Prof van Soelen’s work is support by NRF Thuthuka funding, as well as the NRF Competitive Support for Unrated Researchers (2019–2020). He currently holds a Y1 NRF rating.

  • Dr Yandiswa Yolanda Yako, Walter Sisulu University

    Dr Yandiswa Yako is a medical scientist and a senior lecturer with a PhD from the University of Stellenbosch (2012). She has held NRF Postdoctoral Fellowships at the Pretoria National Zoological Gardens (2013-2014) and University of Witwatersrand (2014-2016). Her research interests focus on molecular mechanisms underlying the development of type 2 diabetes. She has been involved in various research projects on non-communicable and genetically inherited diseases, investigating their prevalence and underlying pathophysiology in South African populations. Dr Yako’s work is funded by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), as well as the NRF.

  • Dr Inam Yekwayo, Walter Sisulu University

    Dr Inam Yekwayo is a conservation ecologist with a PhD from Stellenbosch University (2016). Her research focuses on the conservation of arthropods and their habitats. She is a recipient of the NRF Competitive Support Grant for Unrated Researchers (2019–2021). Dr Yekwayo was a research fellow of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Center for African Studies, at Harvard University (2019).

  • Dr Navindrah Naidoo ,Cape Peninsula University of Technology

    Dr Navindrah Naidoo holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town (2017) and works in the field of emergency medicine and public health. His current research focuses on gender-based violence intervention, and it spans both the health and human sciences. In addition to his academic work, Dr Naidoo has served as a consultant to the Centre for Rural Health working on issues of triage and acute care in HIV. Naidoo is a social justice advocate. He is an adjunct fellow of the Western Sydney University and an Associate Member of the Centre for Legitimation Code Theory, University of Sydney.

  • Dr Khumisho Moguerane, University of Johannesburg

    Dr Moguerane is an historian of the British Empire, with a doctorate from Oxford (2014). Her research focuses on Tswana-speaking African elites in South Africa between the 1880s and 1950s, demonstrating how generations of one family negotiated colonialism and early phases of African and Afrikaner nationalism. Dr Mogeurane held a ORISHA scholarship at Oxford, an Oppenheimer scholarship, and was a Beit scholar.