Navigate Up
Sign In

Welcome to Introducing the SARChI Chairs


 Introducing the SARChI Chairs




The South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) is a flagship project of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF) and is designed to atract and retain excellence in research and innovation at South African universities. From just one Chair in 2008, UWC now hosts 10 Chairs, as well as a joint SKA/UCT/UWC Chair, all of whom are profiled below.
Alan Christoffels.jpg SARChI Chair in Bioinformatics and Human Health Genomics

Professor Alan Christoffels is the Director of the South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI) at UWC. He occupies the
SARChI Chair, which focuses on public health genomics, and addresses the needs of South African public health research while simultaneously addressing the country's national imperative to enhance quality research and teaching in science and technology. Its research activities address the development and implementation of high-throughput screening methods to prioritize biomarkers for health intervention. The research activities are centred around tuberculosis genomics research, malaria and trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness.

Ben Cousins.jpg
SARChI Chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) 

Professor Ben Cousins is the former 
Director of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at UWC. His research focuses on understanding thcontemporary processes of agrarian change in South Africa and their implications for land reform policy. The research contexts include large-scale agriculture, communal areas and land reform farms, with research sites located in different provinces in South Africa.
Wim van Damme.jpg

SARChI Chair in Health Systems Complexity and Change

Prof Wim van Damme's research focuses on comparative health policy and systems research using a complex adaptive systems approach, applied primarily to the research theme of chronic lifelong conditions, which includes diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases. Prof van Damme, who divides his time between UWC and the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp, Belgium, believes that the work of the Chair will `consolidate the position of UWC's School of Public Health as a world-class hub in the global South in this field' and is central to building the next generation of academics and researchers in the emerging field of health policy and systems research.
Emmanual Iwuoha.jpg

SARChI Chair in Nano-Electrochemistry and Sensor Technology (NEST)

Professor Emmanual Iwuoha is a Professor in the Chemistry Department. Professor Iwuoha leads a research project on sensors, which aims to produce easy-to-use tools for point-of-care clinical applications, and the acquisition of data necessary for setting quality standards for priority pollutants in food, drinking water and the environment, as well as for monitoring compliance to set such standards.
Cyril Julie.jpg

FirstRand/NRF Chair in Mathematics Education

Professor Cyril Julie is a long-serving member of the Faculty of Education at UWC and now occupies the position of the FirstRand/NRF chair in Mathematics Education. The research project focuses on the development of mathematics teaching in secondary schools. A major objective of this project is the improvement of the quality of passes in the National Senior Certificate Mathematics examination. Since its inception in July 2011, the project has worked closely with the Western Cape Department of Education.
Nico Steytler.jpg

SARChI Chair in Multi-level Government,Law and Development (MLG)

Professor Nico Steytler is the former Director of the Community Law Centre (CLC) at UWC. The research focus of this Chair is on current societal questions, among them public safety and the role of the judiciary in multilevel government, with a focus on the last two decades of multilevel government, which includes a high-level dialogue between leading politicians and an international expert. In the international arena, Professor Steytler continues to play a leadership role and was recently reelected as president of the International Association of Centres of Federal Studies.
Smarajit Triambak.jpg

SARChI Chair in Nuclear Physics

Professor Smarajit Triambak joined the Physics Department at UWC from the University of Delhi, India, where he was an
associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astrophysics. His research expertise is in the field of low-energy
experimental nuclear physics, most of which revolves around measurements of observables with high accuracy and
precision. These investigations are used to probe for and set stringent limits on hitherto unknown physics, beyond the
standard model – an approach that is complementary to high-energy collider experiments.​


SARChI Chair in Microbial Genomics

Professor Marla Tuffin is Acting Director of the Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics (IMBM) in the Department of Biotechnology. The major research focus of this Chair is to directly access all microbial genomes in any given environment, using a range of high-throughput and metagenomic technologies. These will enable the exploration of all information and data that microorganisms can offer biotechnology and present infinite bioprospecting possibilities.
Romeel Davé.jpg

SARChI Chair in Cosmology and Multi-wavelength Data

Professor Romeel Davé joined the Physics Department at UWC in January 2013 from the University of Arizona, where he was an Associate Professor in Astronomy. Activities of this Chair focus on the use of highperformance supercomputers to model the evolution of the observable universe, with a particular focus on understanding the evolution of galaxies from the Big Bang to the present day (and beyond).Prof Davé has also carried out pioneering work in many areas related to galaxy formation, including star formation, interstellar medium, cosmology, and the nature of dark matter and dark energy. The Chair is hosted by UWC in partnership with the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS).
Roy Maartens.jpg

SARChI Chair in Astronomy and Astrophysics

Professor Roy Maartens is a professor in the Physics Department and is working on a research project focusing on 'Probing Dark Energy with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA)'. This project aims to use the power of the SKA pathfinders and the SKA itself to map the distribution of galaxies in the universe. With these maps, researchers aim to resolve the nature of the Dark Energy that forces the universe to expand faster and faster, a major puzzle in modern physics. The project uses the model of the universe which is based on Einstein's 1915 theory of General Relativity. Prof Maartens is also UWC's first ever NRF A-rated researcher.
Russ Taylor.jpg
SARChI Chair in Observational Radio Astronomy

Prof Russ Taylor has extensive expertise in radio astronomy, in particular wide-field polarization, cosmic magnetism and Big Data, and has played a prominent role in the SKA project since its inception. Prof Taylor was also one of the founding international SKA project scientists and co-authored the first SKA science case. He represented Canada as one of the national members on the SKA Organization Board. The Chair is co-hosted by the SKA, UWC and UCT.

UWC Supports Sustainability
© 2013 UWC | Disclaimer | Sign-in

Contact Centre

University of the Western Cape,
Robert Sobukwe Road,
Bellville, 7535,
Republic of South Africa | +27 21 959 2911