The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has received a major boost to its fast growing research and innovation efforts with the announcement that another new research chair has been awarded by the National Research Foundation to the University in the latest round of awards in the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) programme.
The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE), at (UJ) recently celebrated the appointment of Prof Wellington Didibhuku Thwala, Professor: Construction Project Management and Leadership, as the incumbent of the SARChI Chair in Sustainable Construction Management & Leadership in the Built Environment.
The South African Research Chairs Initiative was established in 2006 as a strategic intervention of the South African Government to reverse brain drain in the public academic and research sector and to develop local expertise.
“The SARChi does not belong to me but to all my students and those who have supported me throughout my career.” It always seems impossible until it’s done – Nelson Mandela. I feel great and honoured to be awarded such a prestigious research award,” said Prof Thwala.
Prof Thwala’s role is to increase scientific research capacity through the development of human capacity and by stimulating the generation of new knowledge. The position also requires the Chair to significantly expand the scientific research base of South Africa in a way that supports the implementation of the National Research and Development policies. Since 2006, the Initiative has awarded 199 Research Chairs.
Investment in research, through the Research Chairs, is intended to improve South Africa’s international research and innovation competitiveness, while responding to social and economic challenges of the country. It is in this context that the National Development Plan (NDP) Priority Area Research Chair was awarded.
The new distinguished research chair takes the number of chairs that UJ now holds to 14 and will, with no doubt, further elevate the University’s research capabilities, output and global impact.