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South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI)

The South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) programme is a national knowledge and human resource development intervention, led by the Department of Science and Technology and managed by the National Research Foundation (NRF).

The main goal of the initiative is to strengthen and improve research and innovation capacity of public universities for producing high quality postgraduate students, research, and innovation outputs. Some of the objectives of SARChI are to:

  • Expand the scientific research and innovation capacity of South Africa;
  • Improve South Africa’s international research and innovation competitiveness while responding to social and economic challenges of the country;
  • Attract and retain excellent researchers and scientists;
  • Increase the production of masters and doctoral graduates; and
  • Create research career pathways for young and mid-career researchers, with a strong research, innovation and human capital development output trajectory.

Rhodes University is home to fourteen (14) SARChI Research Chairs.

Rhodes University Research Chairs

  • Insects in Sustainable Agricultural EcosystemsProfessor SGA Compton
    Chair commencement date: August 2013
    Relevance of research: Insects include many important pest species, but are also valuable tools for pure and applied research.
  • Marine Natural Products ResearchProfessor RA Dorrington
    Chair commencement date: January 2014
    Relevance of research: Globally, marine organisms are recognized as an important source of new bioactive compounds with potential pharmaceutical and other economically important applications. South Africa is surrounded by diverse marine environments, rich in unique indigenous organisms with incredible potential to provide novel natural products. The aim of this research programme is to develop a multidisciplinary research platform in marine biodiscovery and fundamental studies on functioning of our marine ecosystems.

  • Molecular and Cellular Biology of the Eukaryotic Stress Reponse - Dr Adrienne Edkins
    Chair commence date:
    November 2015
    Relevance of research: The chair will focus on molecular and cellular biology research that aims to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms that regulate the eukaryotic stress response. The stress response is a conserved, predictable and ubiquitous response that is observed in eukaryotic organisms from parasites to man. The universal nature of the stress response, and its importance for cellular function, mean that the potential applications of increased fundamental understanding are wide ranging, from water quality monitoring to the treatment of human disease.
  • South African NumeracyProfessor MH Graven
    Chair commencement date: January 2011
    Relevance of research: South Africa faces a Mathematics crisis. Addressing this crisis requires a creative search for sustainable ways forward. Within the South African Numeracy Chair Project intervention programmes are being rolled out which focus on: numeracy teacher development; learner after-school clubs, and finally creating a general Mathematics buzz of passion and innovation in the broader Grahamstown area. Researching the nature of the effectiveness of this three-pronged approach is central to all research conducted by members of the South African Numeracy Chair Research Team.
  • Intellectualisation of African Languages, Multilingualism and EducationProfessor RH Kaschula
    Chair commencement date: January 2013
    Relevance of research: The relevance of this research is directly linked to the necessity for increased status and corpus language planning in relation to African languages. It also speaks to the need for allowing cognition and understanding of conceptual material to be undertaken in a language that one understands best before transferring back to English. The relevance of the research takes into account the necessity for the increased visibility of particularly African languages as espoused by the Constitution of the country.

  • Biotechnology Innovation and Engagement - Professor Janice Limson
    Chair commencement date:
    October 2014
    Relevance of research: Focusing on advancing technology innovation and engaging society in Science.

  • Global Change Social Learning Systems Development: Transformative Learning and Green Skills Learning - Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka
    Chair commencement date:
    January 2016
    Relevance of research:
    Societies everywhere are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of rapid global change (including climate change). In such a context there is need for generatively contributing to transformative social learning systems and green skills learning pathways development. Through this focus, the Chair's work contributes enhancing capacity for climate resilient development and a sustainable, socially just society in South Africa and Africa more widely.
  • Critical Studies in Sexualities and ReproductionProfessor CI Macleod
    Chair commencement date: January 2014
    Relevance of research: Despite the introduction of enabling legislation, and the implementation of a range of intervention, South Africa is faced with multiple challenges surrounding sexuality and reproduction. These include: sexual coercion and violence; transactional sex; HIV infection; rape; hate crimes against sexual minorities; unwanted pregnancies and a high mortality rate. The goal of the Research Chair is to critically assess the social and human dynamics underpinning our slow progress towards full sexual and reproductive citizenship for all.
  • Marine Ecosystems and ResourcesProfessor CD McQuaid
    Chair commencement date: January 2008
    Relevance of research: Many marine ecosystems are profoundly influenced by their physical environment because they do not allow the accumulation of biomass that modifies conditions on land. The environment is changing at unprecedented rates and understanding how marine ecosystems are influenced by the physical environment is the key question of our time.
  • Medicinal Chemistry and NanotechnologyProfessor T Nyokong
    Chair commencement date: January 2007
    Relevance of research: The research into Photodynamic Therapy has relevance in cancer therapy, particularly those cancers that cannot be removed by surgery. Research into fine chemicals will lead to development of useful products from industrial waste; hence it is also environmentally important.
  • Mathematics Education Chair - Professor M Schafer
    Chair commencement date: January 2010
    Relevance of research: The South African mathematics education crisis manifests itself on many levels.  These are political, epistemological and pedagogical.  It is however most strongly felt in the classroom.  The research that we are doing aims to provide solutions to make the mathematics classroom more accessible, real and inspiring.  We aim to achieve this by specifically researching how visualization processes in mathematics teaching and learning can be used to improve the teaching of mathematics and thus ensure epistemological access.

    Our research focus falls into four clusters, namely:

    • Visualization as a pedagogy,
    • Visualization and cognition,
    • Visualization as a key mathematical construct,
    • Visualization as a medium for epistemological access.
  • Interdisciplinary Science in Land and Natural Resource Use for Sustainable LivelihoodsProfessor CM Shackleton
    Chair commencement date: January 2013
    Relevance of research:The focus of the Chair will be interdisciplinary research and human capacity development on the complex social economic and ecological links among land, natural biological resources, and human well-being for sustainable livelihoods and poverty mitigation and alleviation. In essence it will grapple  with questions and mythological approaches around the policy, socio-economic and bio-physical contexts and situations and scales under which natural biological resources or land can contribute to or secure sustainable livelihoods, poverty reduction and greater equity, and to interrogate and expose the means of doing so in an ever-changing socio-economic environment.
  • Geopolitics and the Arts of Africa - Professor Ruth Simbao
    Chair commencement date: January 2016
    Relevance of research: Challenges dominant knowledge structures in the North that produce a skewed discourse on African art. Professor Simbao aims to turn around notions of privilege arguing that rather than being used and labelled by North American and European scholars, African art and scholarship is able to determine its own dominant discourses.
  • Radio Astronomy Techniques and TechnologiesProfessor OM Smirnov
    Chair commencement date: October 2012
    Relevance of research: Roughly 70% of the Square Kilometre Array has been awarded to South Africa. Successful use of this instrument will require the development of many new radio interferometric techniques, and a body of local researchers skilled in these techniques.

Last Modified: Thu, 31 Aug 2017 11:22:17 SAST