National Research Foundation (NRF) awards two new SARChI chairs to the University of Johannesburg (UJ)

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has awarded two additional research chairs to the University of Johannesburg (UJ): the South Africa-Swiss Bilateral Research Chair in Blockchain Technology, and the SASOL/DSI-NRF Research Chair in Green Hydrogen.

This brings the total number of Research and Innovation Chairs at UJ to 26 – including industry chairs, SETA chairs, as well as UNESCO chairs. Both the new chairs were awarded under the NRF’s South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) programme.

“UJ would like to extend its congratulations to the researchers for securing these SARChI Chairs, both awarded at Tier 1 level,” says Prof Letlhokwa Mpedi, UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal. Tier 1 Research Chairs are tenable for five years, renewable for two further five-year funding cycles giving a total lifespan of 15 years.

Blockchain Technology

“Blockchain technology shows great promise for more efficient flow of goods, also from African countries to the rest of the world. This has the potential to assist in boosting exports and imports for African countries, and so help create economic growth and jobs.

“However, as recent crashes in cryptocurrencies have shown, the technology needs to be deployed in a robust and resilient manner to realize its potential benefits,” says Prof Mpedi.

Generating Knowledge

Prof Saurabh Sinha, UJ Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research & Internationalisation, says: “With these two SARChI chairs, UJ is recognised for its focus on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). South Africa and the rest of the African continent will benefit from the research outputs from these Chairs, as well as the experience gained by postgraduate students generating knowledge for the Chairs.”

South Africa-Swiss Bilateral Research Chair in Blockchain Technology

Under the leadership of Professor Nnamdi Nwulu (UJ) and Dr Luca Mazzola (co-Principal Investigator – Hochschule Luzern, Switzerland) the aim of the South Africa-Swiss Bilateral Research Chair in Blockchain Technology is to explore advantages and barriers for integrating blockchain technology in supply chains management.

Two different focus areas of implementation are envisioned within the import/export of goods in South Africa and Switzerland, namely the agri-food and drugs/medical devices supply chains.

Chairholder/Principal Investigator:

Professor Nnamdi Nwulu

University of Johannesburg,
Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE)

Co-Principal Investigator:

Dr Luca Mazzola

Hochschule Luzern, Switzerland

SASOL/DSI-NRF Research Chair in Green Hydrogen

The research focus of the SARChI Chair in Green Hydrogen is to advance the green hydrogen economy from production to application. This Chair is led by Professor Tien-Chien Jen (Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment), and Professor Reinout Meijboom (Faculty of Science) as co-Principal Investigator.

Although sustainable energy sources have been actively sought after for decades, fossil fuels supply more than 80% of the world’s energy needs. The world needs reliable, long-term energy sources or carriers, and hydrogen presents a promising possibility.

Hydrogen has the potential to be a more efficient energy carrier than fossil fuels due to its ity higher energy density per unit mass and lower environmental impact.

Chairholder/Principal Investigator:

Prof Tien-Chien Jen

UJ Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE)

Co-Principal Investigator:

Prof Reinout Meijboom

UJ Faculty of Science

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