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  • Prof Fanelwa Ngece Ajayi, University of the Western Cape

    Professor Ajayi is a chemist with a PhD from the University of the Western Cape (2011). She specializes in the development of drug metabolism sensors (particularly HIV and TB), the synthesis of green method synthesized metallic nanomaterials, and the search to find biological applications. She has received grants from the NRF and Water Research Commission. She is a member of South African Chemical Institute (SACI), International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE), World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (WASET), and the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). Ajayi has been a visiting professor at the University of Missouri and at the University of Cergy Pontoise (France). Professor Ajayi was named one of South Africa’s Inspiring Fifty Women in STEM for her work as a scientist and in the broader community (2018).

  • Prof Alice Brink, University of the Free State

    Prof Brink is an inorganic chemist with a PhD from the University of the Free State (2012). Her research concentrates on developing systematic approaches to understand the foundational driving forces of chemical, kinetic mechanisms, biological and catalytic factors affecting drug and catalysis development. Brink’s work is funded by SASOL, NRF Thuthuka and the NRF-NEP. She has a longstanding research collaboration with Manchester University and serves on the Editorial board of the journal, Crystallography Reviews. Prof Brink holds a Y1 rating from the NRF. In 2019 she was nominated for the South African Women in Science Award in the Distinguished Young Woman Researcher category.




  • Dr Crispen Chinguno, Sol Plaatje University

    Dr Crispen Chinguno is a sociologist who received his doctorate from the University of the Witwatersrand (2015). In the broader discipline, his research falls within the sociology of work, and he investigates trade unionism and social movements on South Africa’s platinum belt. Dr Chinguno won a major fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies’ African Humanities Program, which ran concurrently with a Ford Foundation award. He appeared as an expert witness before the Farlan Commission of Enquiry into the Marikana events.

  • Dr Deidre Geduld, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

    Dr Deidre Geduld is an educationist and her doctoral degree was awarded by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (2011). Her field is foundation phase education. She directs her research interests towards eco-pedagogy and how play may be used to teach ecological awareness and justice to children between the ages of 3 and 9.

  • Dr Elaine Govender-Opitz, University of Cape Town

    Dr Elaine Govender-Opitz has a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Cape Town (2015). Her specialist knowledge of mineral leaching technologies sits in an interdisciplinary space in bioprocess engineering and extends to investigating the impact of mining activities on the water-energy food nexus. Dr Govender-Opitz holds a Y rating from the NRF, and she participates in the EU Horizon 2020 BIORECOVER research project where her role is to model the kinetics and process flowsheets for the treatment of critical raw materials.

  • Dr Antonio G Lentoor, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University

    Dr Antonio Lentoor is a clinical psychologist with a PhD from the University of KwaZulu Natal (2016). His research focus is in neurocognition, addressing the intersection of neuro-vulnerability with communicable and non-communicable diseases (CaNCDs). Lentoor is interested in the development of a comprehensive understanding of key neuro, psychological and social pathways associated with CaNCDs in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). He holds a Royal College of Psychiatrists SA-ACAPAP Emerging Scholar award and the Biological Psychiatry Early and Midcareer Research Development Award (2020) for his research on neurocognition and cancer.

  • Dr Lawrence Mzukisi Madikizela, University of South Africa

    Dr Lawrence Mzukisi Madikizela earned his PhD in analytical chemistry from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2017. His research interests include the chromatographic separation of environmental pollutants, development of sample preparation techniques, environmental monitoring of pollutants, plant uptake of pharmaceuticals, adsorptive removal of pollutants from water and ecotoxicological studies. Dr Madikizela holds an NRF Y rating. He has been awarded prizes as the South African Chromatographer of the Year (2018), DUT Junior Researcher of the Year (2018) and the South African Chemical Institute Merck Gold Medal (2019). He is currently the subject editor for analytical chemistry of the South African Journal of Chemistry, while also serving as the editorial board member in Forensic Science International – Animals and Environments (Elsevier Journal). Dr Madikizela is also currently serving as a minutes secretary for the Chromatography Division of the South African Chemical Institute.


  • Prof Lembe Magwaza, University of KwaZulu Natal

    Prof Lembe Magwaza is a crop scientist with a PhD in horticultural sciences (University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2013). His major research interest lies in developing strategies to maximise the post-harvest shelf life of various food products. Professor Magwaza holds a Y rating from the NRF. He has also won an award for the best paper at the Institution of Agricultural Engineers conference (2017) and was listed among the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Top 10 Young Published Researchers (2018) and among that university’s Top 30 in 2019.

  • Prof Safia Mahomed, University of South Africa

    Professor Safia Mahomed is an admitted attorney with a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand (2018). Her research interests cluster around questions regarding health law and bioethics. A material transfer agreement developed by Prof Mahomed as an outcome of her PhD, dealing with the ethical and legal interests of research participants and researchers, was adapted by the National Department of Health and gazetted into legislation in 2018. This resulted in Safia being awarded the Principal’s prize for excellence in research in 2019. Her current research trajectory involves an examination of the ethical, social and legal considerations for artificial intelligence in healthcare.


  • Dr Maya Makatini, University of the Witwatersrand

    Dr Maya Makatini has a PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2011). She is interested in the therapeutic properties of peptides and investigates the design and synthesis of peptidomimetics and organic molecules that could assist in wound healing, as well as animal, plant and human diseases, diagnostics and biocatalytics. She has won NRF Thuthuka funding, as well as a Medical Research Council Self-Initiated Grant.

  • Dr Katlego Makgopa, Tshwane University of Technology

    Dr Katlego Makgopa is a chemist with a PhD from the University of Pretoria (2016). His primary research focus entails the electrochemistry of nanostructured materials and their potential applications as electro-catalysts for energy and wastewater treatment. Dr Makgopa holds NRF funding programmes: Thuthuka grant, RSA/ China Bilateral, and National Equipment Programme (NEP). He is a member of the South African Chemical Institute (SACI), International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE), and South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP). He serves as deputy director of Centre for Applied Chemistry Research (CACRe), Department of Chemistry, Tshwane University of Technology, and deputy secretary of the South African Nanotechnology Initiative (SANi).






  • Prof Tshepiso J Makhafola , Central University of Technology

    Professor Makhafola is a biochemist with a PhD from the University of Pretoria (2015). He is the Assistant Dean for Research, Innovation and Engagements and the Director of the Centre for Quality of Health and Living in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences at the Central University of Technology; Free State. His research focuses on genotoxicity in particular on the use of natural products for prevention of mycotoxin-induced genotoxicity and carcinogenicity – one of the under-reported health issues facing developing countries. He holds a Y rating from the NRF, and he is the recipient of the NRF-BELSPO award and the NRF-FRF award. He is a member of the Toxicology Association of South Africa (TOXSA) and South African Association of Botanists (SAAB). He is appointed as an extraordinary lecturer at the University of Pretoria’s Pan African Cancer Research Institute (PACRI).



  • Dr Tshifhiwa Mandiwana-Neudani, University of Limpopo

    Professor Tshifhiwa Mandiwana-Neudani has a PhD in zoology from the University of Cape Town (2014) with special interest in Biological systematics. Her research has a strong focus on the evolution of birds with investigations that span taxonomy, evolutionary relationships (phylogenetics), patterns of distribution of taxa and genealogical lineages in space and time (historical biogeography and phylogeography). Her research is currently funded through the CNRS-NRF International Research Programme. She is the Secretary of the Southern African Society for Systematic Biology.


  • Prof Vukosi N Marivate, University of Pretoria

    Professor Vukosi Marivate has a PhD in computer science from Rutgers University (2015). He holds the ABSA UP Chair of Data Science at the University of Pretoria. Prof Marivate works on developing machine learning/artificial intelligence methods to extract insights from data – much of this has been at the intersection of machine learning and natural language processing. Prof Marivate is interested in data science for social impact, using local challenges as a springboard for research. He has worked on projects in science, energy, public safety and utilities. Prof Marivate is a founder of the Deep Learning Indaba, the largest Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence workshop on the African continent, aiming to strengthen African machine learning .

  • Dr Philani Nkosinathi Mashazi, Rhodes University

    Dr Philani Nkosinathi Mashazi’s field is inorganic and analytical chemistry. He attained his PhD from Rhodes University (2012). His research focuses on designing and developing nanobiosensors and he is especially interested in designing diagnostic systems for disease and virus outbreaks or infections. Dr Mashazi holds a Y rating, and his research has been funded by the NRF’s Thuthuka programme, a South Africa-Sweden Bilateral Collaboration and the South African Medical Research Council.

  • Dr Lindelani Fhumudzani Mushaphi, University of Venda

    Dr Lindelani Fhumudzani Mushaphi has a PhD in human nutrition from the University of the Free State (2012). She is interested in child nutrition and malnourished children and she has developed a nutrition education programme aimed at encouraging the use of indigenous and locally available food as a means of addressing malnutrition. Dr Mushaphi has won a DST Women in Science award.

  • Dr Jabulani Ncayiyana, University of KwaZulu Natal

    Dr Jabulani Ncayiyana is an epidemiologist with a PhD from the University of North Carolina (2015). His current research projects investigate the spatial epidemiology of lung health in children and vitamin D deficiency and childhood tuberculosis in the Western Cape. His research is funded by a Thuthuka grant from NRF, as well as a SIR grant from the South African Medical Research Council.

  • Dr Mduduzi Ndlovu, University of Mpumalanga

    Dr Mduduzi Ndlovu is a zoologist with a PhD from the University of Cape Town (2012). His major interest is in biodiversity conservation, and his research concentrates on animal ecology, epidemiology and spatial scaling. Dr Ndlovu holds a C2 NRF rating and is an associate editor of several regional and international journals. He is also a scientific advisor to the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency.


  • Dr Lungiswa Nkonki, Stellenbosch University

    Dr 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. She holds an NRF Y rating and is a member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS).

  • Dr Nontuthuko Ntuli, University of Zululand

    Dr 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. Dr 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.

  • Dr Oliver Nyambi, University of the Free State

    Dr 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 North West University (2017). Her research revolves around questions of entrepreneurship, finance and management of small businesses. She heads the business management department and chairs the University of Fort Hare GBV task team. She is also involved as a faculty advisor with Enactus, an international student organisation involved in social entrepreneurship.

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

    Dr 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. Dr 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 Philip Aghoghovhwia, University of the Free State

    Dr Philip Aghoghovwia holds a PhD in English from the University of Stellenbosch (2014). His scholarly interest is in ecocriticism, postcolonial eco/environmental justice criticism and petrocultures. He is a fellow of the African Humanities Program of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Aghoghovwia contributes to several research projects in environmental and energy humanities, including the Petrocultures Research Cluster (University of Alberta) and Environmental Humanities South (University of Cape Town). These involvements have produced contributions to Fueling Cultures: 101 Words for Energy and Environment (Fordham, 2017), Climate Realism (Routledge, 2020), and Cambridge Critical Concepts on Nature & Literary Studies (Cambridge UP, forthcoming). He holds an NRF Y1 rating.

  • Dr Eric Andriantiana, Rhodes University

    Dr Andriantiana is a mathematician with a PhD from the University of Stellenbosch (2013). His primary interest lies in graph theory. Dr Andriantiana has served as the Regional Coordinator for the Siyanqoba Olympiad Training Center (from 2018) and the South African Tertiary Mathematics Olympiad Centre (from 2014), both at Rhodes University. Andriantiana is currently the junior coordinator of the focus area Graph Theory in the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (CoE-MaSS). He was a recipient of the Stephen Hawking Scholarship by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (2009). Andriantiana holds a C2 NRF rating.

  • Prof Lebo Gafane-Matemane, North-West University

    Professor Lebo Gafane-Matemane has a PhD in physiology from North-West University (2017). Her research field is hypertension, specifically the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and she has received funding from the South African Medical Research Council and the National Research Foundation (NRF). Prof Lebo is a member of the Southern African Hypertension Society (SAHS) and the International Society of Hypertension (ISH). She received the Clinical Science Investigator Award at the RAAS Satellite Meeting in Stellenbosch (2018), was a finalist for the ISH Early Career Researcher Award at the Asian-Pacific Congress of Hypertension in Brisbane (2019) and was honoured with the ISH Fellowship in 2020 for her contribution to hypertension research and awareness activities. She is a member of the ISH Training and Mentorship Committee, South African National Committee of the International Union for Physiological Sciences (IUPS) and on the Board of Directors for the Childhood Hypertension Consortium of South Africa (CHCSA). Prof Lebo has a Y2 NRF rating.


  • Dr Julia Giddy, University of Mpumalanga

    Julia Giddy is a geographer with a PhD from Nelson Mandela University (2016). Her research focuses on ecotourism, adventure and nature-based tourism and the tourism-poverty nexus. Her work considers the platform economy and environmental sociology, specialising in human-environment interaction and tourism geographies. A co-founder of the University of Michigan’s Department of Geological Sciences Outreach Program for high school students (2008–2010), Giddy remains a champion for educating children on earth sciences as a future career. In 2020, Dr Giddy was awarded the Society for South African Geographer’s Centenary Award for Emerging Researchers to continue work on young South African engagement with nature-based tourism and National Parks. Dr Giddy holds a Y2 NRF rating.

  • Dr Sharief Hendricks, University of Cape Town

    Dr Sharief Hendricks is an exercise scientist with a PhD from the University of Cape Town (2012). His research includes sports performance, injury prevention and athlete welfare from community sport to professional athletes. Hendricks was awarded the University of Cape Town College of Fellows Young Researcher Award (2019) and is a 2x finalist for the TW Kambule National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Award for South Africa’s top scientists (2020 and 2021). In 2019, he was one of the Mail and Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans. Hendricks is currently President-Elect of the South African Sports Medicine Association (2021), a Visiting Fellow at Leeds Beckett University and a Fellow of the European College of Sport Science. He is the Social Media Editor for European Journal of Sport Science and an Associate Editor for Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport and British Medical Journal Open Sport and Exercise Medicine. Hendricks serves on the NRF Health Sciences Specialist Rating Committee and holds a C2 NRF rating.


  • Dr Yaseera Ismail, University of Kwazulu-Natal

    Dr Ismail is a physicist with a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2015). Her research interest lies in developing quantum-enabled devices in the field of quantum communication. She is a recipient of three Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) Seed Fund Grants and is an NRF Thuthuka Grant holder since 2019. Dr Ismail initiated collaborations with research groups in China, Russia and India, which led to a successful Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Joint Multi-lateral Science and Technology Research Grant (2020–2022). She received the 2016 TechWomen Emerging Leader Award and is a 2018 Optical Society of America (OSA) Ambassador. Ismail serves on the editorial board of the Scientific Reports Journal and is a committee member for the OSA Esther Beller Hoffman Award. Dr Ismail holds a Y1 NRF rating.

  • Dr Liezille Jacobs, Rhodes University

    Dr Liezille Jacobs is an academic psychologist with a PhD from the University of Stellenbosch (2010). Her research interests represent intersections between gender, class, race, identity, and sexuality, especially as it pertains to addiction. This includes, more recently, an interest in the blurred boundaries of social identities within cyberpsychology; investigating the relationship between humans and technology. Jacobs is a National Institute on Drug Abuse Award recipient and she served as the Chairperson of the National Department of Health’s Alcohol Guidelines. Dr Jacobs completed an Erasmus Mundus Research Fellowship in Epidemiology and Social Medicine at the University of Antwerp, Belgium in 2016 to 2017.

  • Dr Wilbert Kadye, Rhodes University

    Dr Wilbert Kadye has a PhD in ichthyology from Rhodes University (2012). His research interest is in the fundamental and applied aspects of freshwater ichthyology and ecology. He aims to establish a laboratory that will consolidate robust research in the field of freshwater ecology. Dr Kadye serves on the British Ecological Society Review College and is a member of the Southern African Society for Aquatic Science. Kadye’s work has received funding from the British Ecological Society and the Sandisa Imbewu Research Grant. He holds a Y2 NRF rating.

  • Prof Ashwil Klein, University of the Western Cape

    Prof Ashwil Klein is a biotechnologist with a PhD from the University of the Western Cape (2013). His primary research focuses on the role of small signalling molecules on plant-stress interactions. He uses high throughput technologies to identify key genetic determinants to enhance crop productivity under interactive abiotic and biotic stress conditions. Prof Klein serves as head of the National Agricultural Proteomics Research and Service Unit (NAPRSU) and has supervised more than 40 postgraduate students. He is a visiting Professor at the University of the Missouri with an active collaboration with Prof Walter Gassmann from the Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG). His primary and collaborative research projects are funded by NRF, GrainSA and HortGro. Prof Klein holds a Y2 NRF rating.


  • Dr Madison Lasich, Mangosuthu University of Technology

    Dr Madison Lasich is a chemical engineer with a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (2015). Their primary research interest is in computational materials science, focusing on separation processes such as developing new calculation methods for clathrate hydrate phase equilibria and investigating the use of old materials for new purposes. They are a member of the South African Institution of Chemical Engineers. Dr Lasich has held a NRF Knowledge, Interchange and Collaboration Grant (2018). They are Y2 rated by the NRF.


  • Dr Victoria Madden, University of Cape Town

    Dr Tory Madden is a clinical physiotherapist with a PhD from the University of South Australia (2016), for which she was awarded the Ian Davey Best Research Thesis Prize (2017). Madden draws on neuroscience, psychology, and physiology to explore the mechanisms by which pain persists after bodily tissues have healed. She intends for her research to provide a foundation for new strategies to prevent and treat persistent pain. She established the University of Cape Town’s first experimental pain laboratory, where human volunteers are tested in procedures that mimic clinical pain, as a means to understand how persistent pain occurs. In 2019 she was awarded an Emerging Global Leader (K43) Career Development Award from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Her work has also garnered funding from the International Association for the Study of Pain (2016) and the NRF (2018). Dr Madden holds a Y2 NRF rating.

  • Prof Faheema Mahomed-Asmail, University of Pretoria

    Professor Mahomed-Asmail is a Speech-language Pathologist and Audiologist and obtained her PhD in Communication Pathology from the University of Pretoria (2016). Her research interest lies in providing access to person-centered ear and hearing health care through innovative solutions. Her research has resulted in collaborations with the University of Western Australia, the IDA Institute, Denmark, and Örebro University, Sweden. Prof Mahomed-Asmail currently holds a senior lecturer position at the University of Pretoria and is the chairperson of the Education and Research Chairperson for the South African Speech-Language-Hearing Association (SASLHA). She is also a contributing member to the Global Person-Centred Hearing Network and IDA-SA steering group. She has received funding to support her research through the University of Pretoria, Andrew Mellon Foundation and NRF. Her work has been recognized on a number of different levels, with the most recent being the Academic Achievers: Exceptional Young Researcher’s award and an NRF Y1 rating.



  • Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus, Stellenbosch University

    Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus is a chemist with a PhD from Stellenbosch University (2011). She is currently 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 serves 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 is 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.



  • Dr Mikateko Mathebula, University of the Free State

    Dr Mikateko Mathebula is a scholar of higher education with a PhD in development studies from the University of the Free State (2016). Her research centres on the relationship between processes of higher education and human flourishing, examined in ‘capabilities’ terms, as conceptualised by Amartya Sen. She was awarded a fellowship for women in science by the British Academy’s Newton Fund, and the South African Academy of Sciences, in 2016. Dr Mathebula is a recipient of NRF Thuthuka funding (2021-2023) for her research on the post-university life trajectories of low-income rural youth in South Africa. She is the author of Engineering Education for Sustainable Development: A Capabilities Approach (Routledge, 2018).

  • Dr Tongai Maponga, Stellenbosch University

    Dr Tongai Maponga is a biomedical research scientist with a PhD from the University of Stellenbosch (2016). He works on infectious diseases, virology and immunology with a focus on the epidemiology, molecular characterisation and pathogenesis of viral hepatitis. He is a previous awardee of the Africa-Oxford Initiative (AfOx) Visiting Scholars Programme. Dr Maponga’s work is currently supported by the University of Stellenbosch Faculty of Medicine’s Early Career Research Funding Grant, Africa-Oxford Research Development Award (AfOx ReDA) and the Poliomyelitis Research Foundation.

  • Dr Lesedi Masisi, University of the Witwatersrand

    Dr Masisi obtained his PhD in electrical engineering from Concordia University, Canada (2015). He is a senior lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand. His research interests are in electric machines and drives, renewable energy and electrification of transportation. He has worked on projects with the Transnet Research & Development Division, the Department of Public Enterprises on energy modelling and the development of an electric machines test bed for prototype validation. Dr Masisi’s work has received NRF Thuthuka funding. It is also supported by the Eskom Tertiary Education Support Program (TESP) Grant and the Eskom Power Plant Engineering Institute (EPPEI) Grant (2019-2020). Dr Masisi holds a Y2 NRF rating.

  • Dr Johannes Zanoxolo Mbese, University of Fort Hare

    Dr Mbese is a chemist with a PhD from the University of Fort Hare (2017). His research interests are in the synthesis of metal sulfide nanoparticles/nanocomposites, metal oxides, carbon quantum dots and carbon nanotubes for applications in nanotechnology, chemical sensing, water treatment and renewable energy. His work is supported by an NRF Thuthuka Grant (2019–2021) and an Institutional Research Grant from the Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre (GMRDC) (2014-2020). Dr Mbese currently serves as Research Group Leader & Founder of the Energy, Materials and Inorganic Chemistry Research Group (EMICREG).

  • Dr Pontsho Mbule, University of South Africa

    Dr Mbule is a physicist with a PhD from the University of the Free State (2013). Her research focuses on synthesis and characterization of metal oxide nanostructures and the development of transparent conducting electrodes (TCEs) for application in solar cells. Her work is supported by DST-NRF Research Development Grants for New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) and Incentive Funding for Rated Researchers. Dr Mbule is a fellow of the World Academy of Sciences for the Advancement of Science in Developing Countries (TWAS), and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) for scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa. She is also a Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings’ Alumna (2019). She’s a member of the Microscopy Society of Southern Africa (MSSA), The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and she hold a professional Physicist membership (Pr.Phys) from the South African Institute of Physics (SAIP). Dr Mbule holds a Y2 NRF rating.


  • Dr Mokgaotsa Jonas Mochane, Central University of Technology

    Dr Mochane is a polymer chemist with a PhD in polymer science from the University of the Free State (2015). His research focuses on natural fibre hybrid composites for advanced applications, using biopolymer-based composites to replace conventional fuel-based polymers. Dr Mochane is a recipient of NRF Incentive Funding for Rated Researchers (2020–2025), research development grants for Y-rated researchers (2021-2023) and the Central University of Technology DHET Grant, Mid-Career Researcher Award (2019). He holds a Y2 NRF rating.

  • Dr Candice Moore, University of the Witwatersrand

    Dr Candice Moore is a political scientist with a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (2012). Her primary interests are in the development of International Relations theory from the Global South, South Africa’s foreign policy, as well as the foreign policy of Brazil. She was a South African delegation member to the BRICS Academic Forum in Durban (2013) and Rio de Janeiro (2014). She represented the South African BRICS Think Tank Forum in Beijing (2014). Dr Moore has served as Editor-in-Chief of African Security Review (2017–2019). She holds a Y2 NRF rating.


  • Dr Melanie Murcott, University of Pretoria

    Dr Murcott is a legal scholar with an LLD from North-West University (2020). Murcott is a senior lecturer in the Department of Public Law at the University of Pretoria, and a practising attorney of the High Court of South Africa (Transvaal Provincial Division), as well as a solicitor in England (non-practising roll). Her research interests focus on the transformative potential of environmental and administrative law in the South African legal system. Her research led to the development of the legal theory of Transformative Environmental Constitutionalism. Dr Murcott’s work in administrative law has been cited in six judgments, including two Constitutional Court judgments.

  • Dr Gordon O’Brien, University of Mpumalanga

    Dr 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. Dr 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).

  • Dr Sharhidd Taliep, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

    Dr Sharhidd Taliep is an exercise scientist with a PhD from the University of Cape Town (2008). He specialises in exercise physiology and sports performance research. His research on the electroencephalography (EEG) response of a cricket batsman led to the publication of the first two cricket perceptual EEG studies in the world. Dr Taliep currently holds a South African Sweden University Forum (SASUF) grant in collaboration with the University of Western Cape. He serves on the Cricket South Africa Research Committee and SAFA Cape Town Sports Science and Medical Committee. He holds a Y2 NRF rating.

  • 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, Durban University of Technology

    Dr Anisa Vahed is a specialist in dental technology with a doctorate from the Durban University of Technology (2014). Her research interests include undergraduate research-engaged teaching, unfurling the post-school education and training sector and internationalizing the curriculum through the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Virtual Exchange Project. It uses digital technologies to infuse intercultural and global dimensions into curriculum content. She has received the 2017 Council Award and the 2017 and 2018 Vice Chancellor’s Award from the Durban University of Technology. Vahed serves as a ministerial appointee on the South African Dental Technicians Council. Dr Vahed holds a Y2 NRF rating and is an awardee of the 2020/2021 Fulbright South African Research Scholar Programme at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

  • 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 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 Foreman Bandama, Field Museum of Natural History & University of Illinois, Chicago

    After three years at Sol Plaatje University, Dr Foreman Bandama took a double appointment at the Field Museum of Natural History (75%) and the University of Illinois Chicago (25%) in August 2021. At the Field Museum, he joins the Negaunee Integrative Research Center as the Assistant Curator of African Anthropology where his role is to manage, organize exhibitions and conduct research on African collections housed in the museum. This is over and above conducting his own independent research. Within the museum context, an assistant curator is the equivalent of an associate professor. Starting in January 2022, Dr Bandama will teach one module per year, while supervising postgraduate students and contributing to the academic life of the Anthropology Department at UIC.


    Foreman Bandama is an African Iron Age Archaeologist who specializes in pre-industrial ceramics, glass beads, archaeometallurgy, and heritage studies. His doctoral thesis from the University of Cape Town explored the history, innovation and technology of tin and bronze metallurgy in southern Africa. Dr Bandama’s work draws liberally from both African theory and his personal experiences a product of a rural crafting Tsonga family from Zimbabwe. Foreman is particularly interested in African innovations and achievements relating to complex societies and their interactions with the outside world. Among his long-term projects are understanding class and state formation at Great Zimbabwe and some of the key polities in southern Africa.

  • 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.