SARChI Chairs

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The South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) was established in 2006 by the then Department of Science and Technology (now Department of Science and Innovation) under the custodianship of the National Research Foundation (NRF). The programme was “designed to attract and retain excellence in research and innovation at South African public universities…”, and have a strong focus on the production of “high quality postgraduate students and research and innovation outputs” ( This initiative targets researchers with an established track record and regarded as experts in their respective fields. Since the launch of the initiative, the NRF has awarded around more than 200 SARChI Chairs located at the majority of South Africa’s public universities.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) was awarded its first SARChI Chair in 2009 and now hosts a total seventeen (17) SARChI Chairs spread across all its Faculties and College.

UJ hosted SARChI Chairs

Chair holderName of ChairFaculty/CollegeDepartment/Centre
Prof Fiona TregennaIndustrial DevelopmentCollege of Business and EconomicsEconomics and Econometrics
Prof Cecile NieuwenhuizenDHET/DST/NRF Chair in Entrepreneurship EducationCollege of Business and EconomicsBusiness Management
Prof Erika Kraemer-MbulaDST/ NRF/ Newton Fund Trilateral Research Chair in Transformative Innovation, the 4th Industrial Revolution and Sustainable Development.College of Business and EconomicsEconomics and Econometrics
Prof Brenda SchmahmannSouth African Art and Visual CultureFaculty of Art, Design and ArchitectureVisual Art
Prof Elizabeth (Elbie) HenningIntegrated studies of learning language mathematics and science in the primary schoolFaculty of EducationChildhood Education
Prof Shireen MotalaTeaching and Learning in PSETFaculty of EducationTeaching and Learning
Prof Jace PillayEducation and Care in ChildhoodFaculty of EducationEducational Psychology
Prof Salim VallyDHET /DST/ NRF Chair in Community and Worker EducationFaculty of EducationCentre for Education Rights and Transformation
Prof Wellington (Didi) ThwalaSustainable Construction Management and Leadership in the Built EnvironmentFaculty of Engineering and the Built EnvironmentConstruction Management and Quantity Surveying
Prof Heidi AbrahamseLaser Applications in HealthFaculty of Health SciencesCentre for Laser Research
Prof Kate AlexanderSocial ChangeFaculty of HumanitiesSociology
Prof Chris LandsbergAfrican Diplomacy and Foreign PolicyFaculty of HumanitiesPolitics and International Relations
Prof Leila PatelWelfare and Social DevelopmentFaculty of HumanitiesAnthropology and Development Studies
Prof Hennie StrydomInternational LawFaculty of LawPublic Law
Prof Philiswa NomngongoNanotechnology for waterFaculty of ScienceApplied Chemistry
Prof Ben-Erik Van WykIndigenous Plant UseFaculty of ScienceBotany and Plant Biotechnology
Prof Karel (Fanus) ViljoenGeoMetallurgyFaculty of ScienceGeology