Capacity Development Program


Profiles of Supervisors

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Dr Phoebe Barnard

UCT & SANBI

Research Focus Area: Global change biology, futures research and conservation biology

Phoebe is a conservation biologist, global change biologist and sustainability strategist who’s spent equal time in the scientific/ academic and national/ international policy arenas. She spent a decade setting up and running national biodiversity and climate change programs for the government of Namibia to help implement its progressive constitution, and was awarded internationally for this by the Society for Conservation Biology. Her main interest is helping bring about a transformation of global society and the economy to get as many species and ecosystems as possible through the rapid-change extinction bottlenecks of the next few centuries. She served on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment’s global board and scenarios working group, and directed the Global Invasive Species Programme Secretariat’s science and technology work before returning to national strategic work in South Africa in 2005. Having re-established a scientific career in 2008, Phoebe’s trajectory is atypical and straddles large-scale and small-scale biodiversity conservation, global change ecology, policy, planning, implementation, behavior, and tipping points for societal change. Her biodiversity research asks why some species are more vulnerable to change than others, what birds can tell us about ecosystem health and human well-being, how species move across fragmented landscapes in response to climate and land-use change, and what options we have to help them persist through the next few difficult centuries. Her joint SANBI/UCT research team on global change and conservation biology of fynbos endemics uses the lenses of behavioral, evolutionary, population, molecular and stress ecology in order to understand bird vulnerability in real-life and virtual landscapes. As SANBI’s lead scientist on Climate Change Bioadaptation and Biodiversity Futures, and research associate of UCT’s FitzPatrick Institute, Phoebe works with researchers from the UK, Australia, South Africa, France, Chile and New Zealand to understand bird vulnerability and adaptation to global change.

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Dr Michael Gebreslasie

University of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Research Focus Area: Environmental Sciences

Dr Michael Gebreslasie obtained a BSc Applied Geography degree from the University of Asmara, Eritrea. This was followed by MSc Applied Environmental Science degree with GIS and Earth Observation (EO) systems specialisation from university of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Michael then completed PhD Geography degree at University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2009. As a Geographer with emphasis in Geospatial methods, he pursues a multidisciplinary research agenda that focuses on the spatio-temporal Earth Observation systems for environmental change detection and monitoring, forestry (vegetation) inventory and assessment using EO, and Spatial epidemiology including modelling the spatio-temporal patterns of environmental disease transmission and forecasting. Professor Craig Michael Sheridan University of Witwatersrand Industrial wastewater treatment & Chemical Engineering Needs a bit more detail regarding his qualifications, achievements etc. All of Professor Sheridan’s research has this as a deeply fundamental motivation - he believes that we will enter a period of severe water shortage which could lead to potentially devastating social unrest. His goal is to make a contribution towards stopping this before it happens. He is a keen environmentalist, and any contribution he makes in this field will ultimately contribute towards reducing human impact on the environment (for ecological reasons as opposed to philanthropic). On this premise, his research diverges into a number of different areas, based generally on thematic risks to water resources. He also teaches on average 600 chemical engineering undergraduate students each year across three courses.

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Dr David Carlyle Le Maitre

CSIR & The University of Stellenbosch

Research Focus Area: Invasive plant impacts on ecosystem services & strategic invasive plant planning and management

Dr David holds a Ph.D. in plant ecology and specialises as an invasion biologist and hydrologist. He has more than 30 years of research experience in the ecology of Cape fynbos vegetation, fire ecology and management, assessing the hydrological and ecological impacts of invading alien plants and in the dynamics of invasion processes. He has special interests in: (a) the impacts of invasions on river and wetland systems and the ecosystems services they generate, including river assimilatory capacity and (b) the ecological role of groundwater, particularly in groundwater-linked ecosystems such as wetlands and river floodplains. His focus is on understanding the ecological functioning of working landscapes and catchments and how the constituent ecosystems and ecological functions, and the services they generate, are affected by changes in land cover and land management practices. Dr David’s current research projects are on the linkages between biodiversity, ecosystem services and land-use, focusing on ecohydrology and water resources. Furthermore, he has played key roles in the following research fields: • The relationships between ecosystems, ecosystem service generation, benefit flows and ecosystem state focusing on water resources (quantity and quality) and land productivity with an emphasis on the impacts of invasive alien plant species. • Studies on the impacts of invasive alien plant species, particularly on water resources. The effectiveness of the Working for Water programme, and on the development of strategic approaches to prioritizing areas for management interventions at national to catchment levels.

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Professor Andrew Thatcher

University of Witwatersrand

Research Focus Area: Organizational Psychology

Andrew is a Professor and Chair of Industrial/Organisational Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand where he has been working since 1995 teaching organizational effectiveness, engineering psychology, research design and analysis, cognitive psychology, and ergonomics. He obtained his PhD in Psychology in 2003 from the University of the Witwatersrand. Thereafter, he registered with the HPCSA as an Industrial Psychologist and regularly supervises industrial psychology interns. He is also the Chair of the IEA's Technical Committee on Human Factors for Sustainable Development. Professor Thatcher’s writing and research is primarily in the area of sustainable work systems looking at the combinatory effects of affective qualities of sustainable technology and the underlying psychological morals surrounding pro-environmental behaviour. Specific projects also include affect in the design of sustainable technologies, wellbeing and productivity in green buildings, and the theoretical development of human factors and sustainable development. He has numerous articles in journals such as 'Ergonomics', 'Applied Ergonomics', 'International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics', 'Behaviour & Information Technology', 'International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics', 'Work', and 'Computers in Human Behavior'. Furthermore, was a member of the technical committee working on human factors and ergonomics issues for the interior rating tool for GreenStar South Africa (the South African equivalent of LEED and BREEAM). He currently sits on an advisory panel for the World Green Building Council on wellbeing, health, and effectiveness in green office buildings. In addition, is an associate editor of the journals 'Ergonomics' and 'Behaviour & Information Technology" and sits on the editorial boards of several other international journals in the human factors and ergonomics field. He is also the current chair of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa.

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Dr Josephine Kaviti Musango

University of Stellenbosch

Research Focus Area: Public leadership

Dr Josephine Kaviti Musango is a Senior Lecturer with the School of Public Leadership (SPL), Stellenbosch University. She previously worked for Gauteng City-Region Observatory as Senior Researcher, Department of Energy as Deputy-Director, and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as Resource Economist. She holds bachelor degree in Agribusiness Management; master degree in Agricultural Economics; and a Transdisciplinary Doctoral in Sustainable Development. Since May 2014, she has been the Deputy Programme Director: Sustainable Development, and is also responsible for the Renewable Energy Stream of the Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Development, in collaboration with the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES). Furthermore, she is NRF-rated researcher and her on–going research relates to the application of system dynamics modelling in managing change in resource management and policy related challenges, especially in the energy sector, green economy and African cities resources issues. For the last ten years, she has utilised system dynamics modelling in various contexts including resource flows analysis, aquaculture management, energy assessment, technology assessment and green economy. She also has expertise in other modelling approaches including material flow analysis, agent based modelling, discrete event modelling, Bayesian networks and econometrics. She is currently leading a research team on Urban Modelling and Metabolism Assessment (uMAMA) Africa, working on implications of urbanisation on resource requirements in African cities. Dr Musango is one of the Founding Members of South Africa System Dynamics Chapter and presently serving as Organising Secretary of the Chapter. She has published widely in peer reviewed Journals and in international and local Conferences. Her PhD thesis was on “Technology Assessment of Renewable Energy Sustainability in South Africa”.

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Professor Ojelanki Ngwenyama

University of Cape Town

Research Focus Area: Research methods in information systems

Professor Ojelanki Ngwenyama is Research Professor of Information Systems at the University of Cape Town; and Professor and Director at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. Between 1990 and 2015 Prof. Ngwenyama’s research has ranked in the Top 100 IS Researchers by AIS. He has supervised more than 40 PhD theses, and participated in more than 10 international doctoral summer schools and doctoral consortia. Furthermore, he has authored more than more than 96 publications that have appeared in top journals. He has also published several books with the most recent being co-authored with K-M Osei-Bryson, Advances in Research Methods for Information Systems Research, Springer, 2014. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from The Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering, State University of New York at Binghamton (1988); MBA (1985) Syracuse University; MSc and BSc Roosevelt University, USA. In 2009 he was awarded D.Phil (honoris causa) from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Pretoria, South Africa for international contributions to research methods in the field of information systems. Professor Ngwenyama has had permanent appointments at Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA and York University, Toronto, Canada. In addition, Prof. Ngwenyama has held visiting professorships including: Visiting Research Professor at Institut d’ Economie et Management de Nantes, Université de Nantes, France, 2016 ; Visiting Research Professor in Inter-organizational Information Systems, University of Munster, Germany, 2015; VELUX Foundation Visiting Research Professor, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, 2012; Andrew Mellon Foundation Mentorship Professor at University of Cape Town, South Africa, 2011; Visiting Research Professor of Information Systems in the Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University, Denmark, since 1997; Docent in Computer Science & Information Systems, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, since 1994; Visiting Research Professor of Informatics, Aarhus Business School, University of Aarhus, Denmark, 2006-2009; Visiting Professor, Department of Informatics, University of Pretoria, South Africa, 1992-2001.

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Dr Dillip Das

Central University of Technology, Free State

Research Focus Area: Civil Engineering / Urban and Regional Planning

Dr. Dillip Kumar Das holds a Ph.D in Urban and Regional planning Civil Engineering and City Planning background. Currently he is engaged in teaching, research and community engagement activities as a Senior lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering of Central University of Technology, Free State, South Africa. Also, while in academics he has worked in different Universities of India and Ethiopia prior to joining his current position. Before joining academics in 2001, he has worked for several years as an engineer and planner in the consultancies and in the Government sector in India. He has taught and guided both undergraduate and post graduate students of Civil Engineering, Civil and Urban Engineering, and Architecture and Urban Planning. Dr Das is active in supervising Master and Ph.D students. He has also supervised doctoral students under Southern African Young Scientist Summer Programme (SA YSSP) 2013-14 and 2014-15. He has worked in various research projects in the areas of sustainable urban & regional development, and transportation planning. At present he is leading a research group on sustainable urban and road and transportation at his current university. His research and consulting interests under sustainable urban and regional development include systems analysis, system dynamics modelling, infrastructure planning, green cities, smart cities, transportation planning, and tourism development. He has co-authored two books as the lead author on Planning for Regional Tourism Development and Planning for balanced regional development, and published several peer reviewed research articles.

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Dr Michael Simon

University of Fort Hare

Research Focus Area: Energy Efficiency & Solar Technologies / Applied physics

Michael Simon holds a PhD degree in Physics from the University of Fort Hare. He is presently the Energy Manager and Head of the Energy Efficiency Group at the Fort Hare Institute of Technology. In addition, Dr Simon is also a certified Eskom M&V professional and Team leader of the Eskom M & V UFH Team. He is a senior member of the Southern African Institute of Physics (SAIP) and the South Africa energy efficiency association (SAEE). Furthermore, he is a solar (Photo Voltaic & thermal) energy technology an Energy Efficiency specialist as well as a consultant for Renewable energy and a seasoned author and reviewer for accredited peer review Journals. Lastly, Dr Simon acts as an examiner of post graduates, PhD and Master research theses in the field of applied physics and energy engineering.

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Dr. Adam West

University of Cape Town

Research Focus Area:Plant ecophysiology

Dr Adam West a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at UCT. His research focuses on the ecophysiology of plant-environment interactions, with an interest in how these are influenced by direct and indirect human activities. He is particularly interested in plant-water relations. Dr West’s background includes a MSc in forest ecology (UCT), a PhD exploring the ecophysiology of seasonality (Univ. of Utah), and a post-doctoral fellowship (UC Berkeley) exploring the ecophysiology of drought. His recent research explores the importance of climate on biodiversity in the Cape Florisitic Region. Aside from research, he teaches undergradaute classes in cell biology, plant physiology and global change ecology.

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Dr Ursula Scharler

University of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Reserch Focus Area: Marine Systems / Network Systems

Ursula works mainly on subtropical and warm temperate estuarine and nearshore marine ecosystems by characterizing estuarine variability and tracking ecosystem function and connectivity using network analysis tools. After finishing her PhD at the University of Port Elizabeth (now Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) in South Africa, she moved to the USA for a post-doc at the Smithsonian Institute and Chesapeake Biological Lab. After moving back to Europe, she lived for a few years in Wageningen in The Netherlands, before taking up an academic position at the School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. She also engages in theoretical work on networks, aiming to bridge the gap between theory and real world systems. Ursula is a member of the IIASA-NMO committee. She has been a supervisor for three consecutive years in the South African Young Summer Scientist Programme (SA-YSSP), the predecessor of SASAC, where she co-supervised 5 PhD students on network analysis related topics in ecological and economic systems. She has published more than 40 peer reviewed pieces of literature and is currently the Subject Editor of the journal Ecological Modelling. She engages in the South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research (SANCOR), and is the KwaZulu-Natal provincial representative to its Steering Committee. She also co-founded the African chapter of the International Society for Ecological Modelling (isem-africa) in 2014 to facilitate communication and information flow on the topic across the continent.

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Dr. Thokozani Kanyerere

University of the Western Cape

Research Focus Area: Groundwater Hydrology

Thokozani Kanyerere is a Senior Lecturer of Hydrogeology in the Department of Earth Sciences at University of the Western Cape (UWC). He received a PhD in Hydrogeology from UWC (2008-2012) in South Africa where he worked on managing groundwater in the context of IWRM Perspective. He also holds MPhil in Medical Geography from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (2002-2004) in Norway, MSc in Environmental Science from the University of Malawi (1999-2001) and B.Ed in Environmental Geography (1991-1995) in Malawi. His PhD promoters were Professor Yongxin Xu (Hydrogeologist) of UNESCO Chair Centre on Groundwater at UWC and Professor John Saka (Chemist) from Department of Chemistry at University of Malawi and Professor Jonathan Levy (Hydrogeologist) from Miami University, Ohio, USA. Thokozani teaches and researches on the following areas; Groundwater-Surface water Interaction, Groundwater Resource Assessment, Groundwater Recharge Systems, Groundwater Flow Systems, Groundwater Dependency Ecosystem, Groundwater Utilization, Groundwater Governance and Health Systems Research among others. Furthermore, Dr. Thokozani is currently a Coordinator for the Environmental and Water Science Program in the Earth Science Department, a Coordinator for the Teaching and Learning activities and a Departmental Representative of the Faculty Planning Committee. He actively teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students in addition to supervising Honours, MSc and PhD students. He is a Coordinator of the Institutional Management and Water Governance Network of the FETWater Phase III Program of the Water Research Commission in South Africa. Dr. Thokozani is also involved in several outreach and collaborative research activities in South Africa and beyond. Before joining UWC, Thokozani was a Head of Department for Geography and Earth Sciences in 2006 and 2007 at the University of Malawi where he taught from 2001 to 2007. He remains an active member of water related professional bodies and organisations such as IAH (Membership No. 122982); WISA (Membership No. 24631); SACNAPS (Membership No. 114457); and GSSA (Membership No. 969513); WaterNet; Groundwater Network Member, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Network Member, Member of UNESCO Chair Centre on Groundwater at UWC.

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Dr. Nien-Tsu Tuan

University of Cape Town 

Research Focus Area: Systems Thinking

Born in Taiwan, Nien-Tsu Tuan completed his postgraduate degrees in South Africa. He received his MEng in Engineering Management from the University of Pretoria in 1994. In 2002, he obtained his PhD from the University of Cape Town. The journey of his postgraduate research marked the transition of his passion from hard systems approach to soft systems approach. In more than 20 years’ involvement in the defense industry, Tuan focused on the application of systems engineering in manufacturing military equipment. His study at the University of Pretoria was aimed at mastering this field. This period was the time that the hard systems approach dominated his ideas. His research at the University of Cape Town brought about a turn in his interest. Influenced by his mentor John Warfield, who is one of the pioneer in systems thinking, Tuan was fascinated by the profound philosophy put forward by the contemporary system thinkers, particularly in the thinking of dealing with complexity. This passion continues to this day. Continuing with his passion in systems thinking, Tuan currently delves into systemic practice – particularly in bridging the gap between hard systems approach and soft systems approach. Tuan has applied his knowledge of systemic thinking to interdisciplinary research. His 10 years’ experience in tertiary education inspires him to publish his ideas on interdisciplinary journals. His works have been published on various journals in systems theory, including Systemic Practice and Action Research, Systems Research and Behavioral Science and Kybernetes. He authored a book (in Chinese) about multiple-criteria decision analysis based on the Logical Decisions software and served on the editorial advisory board for the book ‘Cybernetics and Systems Theory in Management: Tools, Views, and Advancements’. Tuan is also a reviewer for an ISI journal ‘Systemic Practice and Action Research’. Tuan is a lifelong member of INFORMS Taiwan Chapter and Interactive Management Community established by his mentor John Warfield. Bridging the gap between the hard systems thinking and soft systems thinking is a lifelong quest for his research.

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Professor Bob Scholes - University of Witwatersrand

Research Focus Area: Systems ecology

Prof Bob Scholes is a systems ecologist with a particular interest in the savannas of Africa. He trained under Prof Brian Walker at the University of the Witwatersrand and Prof Pedro Sanchez at North Carolina State University and has over three decades of field experience in many parts of Africa and the world. He is among the top 1% of environmental scientists worldwide based on citation frequency, publishing widely in the fields of savanna ecology, global change, and earth observation. He has led several high-profile studies (eg the Assessment of Elephant Management, Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, Strategic Assessment of Shale Gas Development) and large research campaigns (eg SAFARI 2000, Southern African Millennium Assessment). He is or has been a member of the steering committee of several International Council of Scientific Unions research programmes. He was an author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 3rd, 4th and 5th assessments and was co-chair of the Conditions Working Group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and is co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services assessment of Land Degradation. He has been a member of the steering committees of several global earth observation bodies: Global Climate Observing System; Global Terrestrial Observing System (chair), Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Implementation Planning Task Team, GEO Biodiversity Observation Network (chair). He has been on the boards of the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, the South African National Parks and South African National Space Agency. In addition, Prof Scholes is a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the CSIR, Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, Member of the South African Academy, a Research Associate of the CSIR, an NRF A-rated scientist, and a winner of the National Science and Technology Forum Lifetime Contribution to Science Award.

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Dr Bongani Ncube

Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Research Focus Area: Water & Agriculture

Dr Bongani Ncube is the niche area leader of Water & Agriculture. She holds a PhD in Production Ecology and Resource Conservation from Wageningen University. She also holds an MSc in Water Resources Engineering and Management and a BSc Honours in Agriculture (Soil Science) from the University of Zimbabwe. With over 20 years of experience in research and consultation, Dr Ncube is a highly accomplished and dynamic hands-on researcher and manager with a proven track record of operative leadership and strategic development specialising in water, agriculture, and the environment within the research, education and not for profit sectors. She has a passion for improving livelihoods and food security in the smallholder farming sector. With exceptional high-level networking, communication and grant management she has successfully engaged with a diverse range of partners, stakeholders and funders. She has demonstrated effective financial leadership, business acumen, relationship management, presentation, training and public relations skills that successfully inspire and engage others. She is also a confident leader who is innovative and target focused. She is currently building a team of young scientists and her dream of graduating one or two MSc students per year is becoming a reality.

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Professor Stuart Piketh

North West University

Research Focus Area: Atmospheric Science

Prof Piketh have been involved in atmospheric research for the past 20 years. His research activities have two main areas of focus, the first is understanding air pollution in South Africa. This research focusses of sources, atmospheric transport and air pollution mitigation. The second is atmospheric aerosol research and its potential climate implications. Projects over the past 15 years include the Aerosol Recirculation and Rainfall Experiment in South Africa, SAFARI2000 in Southern Africa, Cloud seeding and research in the UAE, Cloud seeding in Australia and the CAIPEX project in India. In many of these projects he was the scientific PI or Co-PI and has a wealth of experience in the scientific application of aircraft for the purpose of studying cloud process and microphysics.

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Professor Charlie Shacklenton

Rhodes University

Research Focus Area: Plant Ecology; Rural livelihoods; Ethnobotany; Urban ecology; Interdisciplinary studies

Charlie Shackleton is a professor in the department of Environmental Science at Rhodes University, Grahamstown (South Africa) and currently occupies a fulltime NRF/DST Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Science in Land & Natural Resource Use for Sustainable Livelihoods. Charlie has decades of research experience and numerous publications around rural livelihoods in communal rangelands, relating to natural resource (non-timber forest products (NTFPs)) use, ethnobotany, valuation, management and sustainability. In the last few years he has been posing similar questions and models to urban systems. His urban sustainability work has focussed largely on the nature, use and inequities in urban forestry and green spaces in small towns in developing countries. Charlie has supervised/co-supervised 131 postgraduates (18 PhD; 40 Masters; 63 Honours). He is an associate editor for the journals Environmental Conservation (since 2007) and African Journal of Range & Forage Science (since mid-2012) and member of editorial board for the Journal of Environmental Planning & Management (since 2007). In addition, he regularly acts as a reviewer for over 70 different academic journals.

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Dr. Oghenekaro Nelson Odume

Rhodes University

Research Focus Area: Freshwater ecosystem ecology and water resources – environmental water quality

Dr Oghenekaro Nelson Odume is a Senior Researcher and Director of the Unilever Centre for Environmental Water Quality within the Institute for Water Research at Rhodes University. He holds a BSc (Hons) degree from the Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria and an MSc and PhD degrees in Water Resource Science from Rhodes University. He has over 9 years’ research experience in the field of water resource science with interest in applied ecology, water quality and pollution management, ecosystem science/management, environmental ethics, and transdisciplinary water science in the context of social-ecological systems. His research has received local and international awards, including the Emerging River Professional Award by the International River Foundation, Australia and the Bronze Medal Award by the Southern Africa Society of Aquatic Scientists in recognition of his contribution to water quality management in South Africa. He was an NRF post-doctoral research fellow at Rhodes and a Carnegie-RISE alumnus.


Profiles of Students

19 Phd students selected from Universities around South Africa will participate in the 3-year Systems Analysis Programme. Starting in 2016 and finishing at the end of 2018. 

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Mrs Andrea Marais-Potgieter 

                                                                                 University of Witwatersrand                                                                                                   

Proposed PhD Title: Developing typologies to use as an ecopsychological framework for understanding the connection that people have with the biosphere in South Africa

Andrea Marais-Potgieter is a PhD candidate at The School of Human and Community Development (SHCD)at University of the Witwatersrand. She received her MA Cum Laude in Psychology from University ofJohannesburg in 2004. After a brief period of being a reporter for Creamer Media she entered the field of market research where she worked for international research company, Research International and Synovate (now Ipsos) as a qualitative research expert. In 2009 Andrea opened her own consumer research company. As a registered consumer psychologist with the American Association of Consumer Psychologists she proceeded to conduct consumer research on the African continent working with research teams across 15 African countries. She was a guest lecturer between 2008 – 2013 for the Honours marketing students at University of Johannesburg, University of Cape Town and University of South Africa. In 2013 Andrea was invited to attend the AMS marketing conference in California as a guest speaker and expert in conducting consumer research on the African continent. After ten years in consumer research, followed by an existential crisis, Andrea changed focus. In 2015 she attended a conference hosted by the European Ecopsychology Society (EES) after which she was identified as a candidate for a potential South African charter. The area of her PhD explores the development of ecopsychological typologies of people and their connection to the natural environment. This research aims to advance the theoretical understanding of the connection that people have with the natural environment with the goal of developing targeted intervention strategies, communication campaigns and technological designs that reconnect people with nature. Andrea is a passionate animal rights activist and member of Animals Matter to Africa (AMTA). She currently resides in Noordhoek, Cape Town with her husband, Erwin, and four rescue dogs.


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Miss Meryl Jagarnath

University of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Proposed Title: Integrating urban land use and development in South Africa under a changing climate: A case study of eThekwini Metropolitan (Durban) and surrounding municipals

Meryl Jagarnath completed her BSc Environmental Science degree in 2012 with courses on both natural and social sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Nata (UKZN). She obtained her Honours degree in Environmental Sciences in 2013, where she did coursework and undertook a research study focused on the improvement of the inventory methods and data collection of greenhouse gas emissions in South African cities. The theme of climate change mitigation carried on to her MSc Environmental Science research degree (from UKZN) which focused on using emissions inventories to inform low carbon spatial planning in Durban and presented at the DST-NRF Global Change Conference at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2014. Meryl is interested in the fields of atmospheric science, social science, and policy to holistically understand and address developmental challenges in cities, specifically, in linking climate change strategies with urban developmental goals. She has demonstrated and tutored various undergraduate and post-graduate modules and lectured the third year Atmospheric Science course. She lives in Durban and is an avid football enthusiast as well as enjoying reading historical non-fiction, and knitting in her spare time.  


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Mr. Thozamile Yapi

Rhodes University

Proposed Title: Towards restoration of degraded rangeland ecosystems: Understanding social-ecological dynamics between wattle species and rangeland ecosystem services

Thozamile was born in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape where he completed his primary and secondary education. Growing up in rural areas, looking after his grandfather’s livestock is what inspired his love for nature from a very young age. His experience and interest in rural livelihood has led to a career in agricultural sciences. Thozamile holds a BSc in Agriculture majoring in livestock and pasture sciences from university of Fort Hare. In 2011 he joined the CSIR’s MSc studentship programme where he completed his MSc in Conservation Ecology through Stellenbosch University. After completing his MSc he enrolled in an internship programme with CSIR for a year. Thereafter, he worked as a candidate researcher within the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services research group for two years. His key focus areas include understanding impacts of woody invasive alien plants on ecosystem services. Most of his work incorporates field ecological data, agricultural census data and GIS mapping. Thozamile’s areas of interest include management of woody plants invasion on natural rangelands, and improving rural livelihood through sustainable use of natural resources.


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Mr. Tebogo Madlala

University of the Western Cape

Proposed Title: Wetland hydrogeology: case study of Vlakfontein Mining Rights Area

Mr. Tebogo Eugene Madlala is an MSc. student at the University of the Western Cape. The focus of his studies is in hydrogeology, with special reference to interactions occurring between groundwater and surface water over varying physiographical environments. Mr. Madlala has worked as part of a research team in the upper Berg River catchment of the Western Cape. During this work, he has been involved in field work involving conducting groundwater aquifer testing, sampling as well as flow gauging. Additionally, as part of his MSc. studies at the university, Mr. Madlala has also been involved in various stakeholder engagements as well as numerous national and international conferences, where his involvement varied from participant to speaker. This exposure has led him to pursue his doctoral studies, with the focus on interactions occurring between groundwater and surface water in the mining environment. Following his MSc. graduation, Mr. Madlala registered for his PhD studies in hydrogeology at the University of the Western Cape. During his study, he intends on assessing groundwater-surface water interactions and to model groundwater-surface water interactions and contamination transport in a mining environment, with special focus on wetland rehabilitation and impact mitigation following mine operations to provide best suited possible solutions for contamination mitigation and maintenance of natural hydrogeological flow regimes within the mining wetland environment. To his PhD studies, Mr. Madlala brings with him enthusiasm, passion and energy that he has groomed during his study period. Furthermore, Mr. Madlala’s interests in natural resources (i.e. water resources in particular) have provided him with the opportunity to explore the study of water in semi-arid environments that have been under a lot of stress due to resultant climatic extremities experienced.


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Mr. Christopher Temba Waspe

University of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Proposed Title: Understanding Estuarine Ecosystem Functioning through Dynamic Network Analysis: Theory and Application across South African Systems

Christopher Waspe was born and grew up in Johannesburg. He has always had two main passions, sport and learning about and experiencing our natural environment. From a young age he was privileged to be exposed to many different natural wonders from game parks to marine ecosystems and diving beautiful coral reefs. Mr. Waspe completed his Undergrad and Honours at the University of Witwatersrand in Environment, Ecology and Conservation. He recently concluded his MSc through coursework and dissertation in Applied Marine Science at the University of Cape Town. Furthermore, he has been exposed to a wide range of topics in the Marine field ranging from Marine Law to Fisheries Modelling to Marine Conservation. Through practical experience he has learnt the benefits of integrated holistic thinking and the importance of interdisciplinary work. At the beginning of 2013, Christopher travelled through South America for 8 months, working his way through many countries and learning new things about himself and the world in which we live. He had many wonderful, fulfilling and educational experiences during that time. he worked in many different situations from organic farms and construction, to bartending in hotels and maintenance. Travelling involved hitch hiking from place to place or catching the cheapest possibly means of transport. These experiences taught him humility and the value of hard work and dedication.


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Miss Ileshree Moodley

University of Witwatersrand

Proposed Title: Remediation of acid mine drainage using constructed wetlands with charcoal bed matrices

Ileshree Moodley is currently doing her PhD in chemical engineering, at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 2012 she received my Bachelor of Science degree with majors in microbiology and chemistry, and in 2013 she received my Honours degree in chemistry. In 2014 Ileshree went on to undertake a Masters degree in chemical engineering, of which after two years has now converted the project to a PhD. Her research background is diverse and involves fields of nanoparticle biotechnology, bio-inorganic chemistry and environmental chemistry. Although with such diversity, there is a common theme of her research background and that is she has always maintained conducting research where significant positive impacts in the world can be made, be it environmental or social. In particular, her interest and passion lies in making use of nature’s resources and natural biological techniques to solve man-made problems, without any hassles of exploitation. Ileshree is now conducting research in waste-water treatment, of which she feels is an area that needs to be heavily focused upon, as water scarcity is becoming a huge problem. She is finding it extremely fulfilling and purposeful, especially since this project will hopefully be applied to a rural community, where they too will gain tremendous benefits. In terms of awards Miss Moodley has been awarded the EnviroServ Laboratory prize for the best laboratory work done by an undergraduate student in the School of Chemistry (University of the Witwatersrand), 2012. She has also been awarded with two scholarships (Post Graduate Merit Award) from the University of the Witwatersrand for outstanding academic performance, in her previous degrees. Additionally, for her Honours degree, she received a bursary from DOW chemical company. She is also a member of the Golden Key Society, which awards students for their excellent academic performance. Recently, she attended the 10th ICARD conference in Chile held by the International Mining Water Association (IMWA) of which she presented a poster on a preliminary study of her project.


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Mr Masiiwa Rusare

University of Cape Town

Proposed Title: Redesigning Value Management Framework in Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Service Projects: A Systemic Approach

Masiiwa Rusare is a development practitioner with over 14 years’ experience in the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) sector. He has the following qualifications; Msc Project Management (University of Cape Town), Msc Economics (University of Zimbabwe), Msc International Development Studies (Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan), Bsc Economics (University of Zimbabwe). Since finishing the Msc Project Management at the University of Cape Town in 2013, Masiiwa has strived to improve the way how NGO projects are managed. He has focused on applying project management principles to enhance NGO projects and reduce failure. Since completing his Master thesis on the Project Implementation Profile (PIP), Masiiwa has influenced a number of NGO project managers to adopt and use it as a tool to enhance project success.


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Miss Suzanne Smit

Stellenbosch University

Proposed Title: Connecting the urban informal settlement to the city: A systems approach

Suzanne is passionate about work that solves real-world problems and offers new insights and perspectives on bringing about change that is environmentally sustainable and socially equitable. Her qualifications include a Masters of Philosophy in Sustainable development and Post Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Development, both from Stellenbosch University (2015 and 2013 respectively); a Bachelor in Business Administration (Majoring in Management) from Helderberg College (2012); and a National Diploma in Public Relations Management from CPUT (1998). Suzanne’s Master’s work involved an exploratory study on connecting the green economy with the informal economy in South Africa under supervision of Dr Josephine Musango. Two publications have flowed from this work including: 1) Towards connecting green economy with informal economy in South Africa: A review and way forward, 2) Exploring the connections between green economy and informal economy in South Africa. Her PhD focus takes a broader perspective, and incorporates a systems approach in connecting the urban informal settlement to the city. The study uses mixed methods including a case study of Enkanini, Stellenbosch; a multi-scale integrated analysis of societal and ecosystem metabolism; systems thinking and a system dynamics modelling exercise. Her areas of interest include: Sustainable development, urban metabolism, green economy, informal economy, informal settlements, gendered aspects of growth and development, stakeholder engagement, sustainable and ‘just’ cities.


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Mr. James Honiball

Central University of Technology, Free State

Proposed Title: Engineering open green spaces for sustainable and resilient cities in South Africa

James Edward Honiball was born on 7 October 1983 in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa. He completed his schooling in 2002 at the Plettenberg Bay Christian School in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape. He then worked in the construction industry for 3 years before enrolling to study Civil Engineering at the Central University of Technology (CUT, Free State), Free State. He completed his National Diploma in Civil Engineering in 2008, and later in 2010 obtained his Baccalaureus Degree in Civil Engineering (CUM LAUDE). During his Bachelors of Technology study at CUT, Free Sate, he also worked in Civil Engineering consulting firms as a designer and project manager for about 3 years. In 2011, he joined Department of Civil Engineering of CUT, Free Sate and is currently working as a lecturer. Recently he has completed his Master of Technology: Civil Engineering (research based) with the thesis titled: “Engineering accessibility of open recreational facilities in urban residential areas of Bloemfontein city, South Africa”. Needs a little about his current work and interests


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Mr. Keegan Steyn

University of Cape Town

Proposed Title: Unearthing the barriers to OSS adoption within a South African context (both public and private

Keegan Steyn currently works a freelance project manager and business analyst. He recently graduated with an MPhil in Inclusive Innovation from the GSB. He wrote a thesis on ‘unlocking the barriers to innovation in organizations’. Keegan was inducted into the Honoree Golden Key Society for academic excellence and attained the class medal for the PGDip Management in Information Systems (UCT) for achieving the highest overall percentage. His also earned a BA (Honours) degree in Industrial Psychology and BA degree majoring in Psychology and Sociology from UWC. His PhD thesis research will focus on developing an understanding of the interlocking social and institutional conditions which result barriers to innovation in the Free Open Source Software space in South Africa. The objective of the research is to identify what systems and organizational structures and discover possibilities for improving South Africa’s standing in the global software market.


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Mr. Stephen Loh Tangwe

University of Fort Hare

Proposed Title: Predictors’ characterization, modelling and simulation of integrated and split type residential air source heat pump water heaters: Alice, South Africa.

Stephen Tangwe holds a B. Eng. (Hons) and M. Eng degree in Electrical Engineering from AIU, Honolulu, Hawaii. He is an energy efficiency PhD research candidate with Fort Hare Institute of Technology and under the department of Physics at the University of Fort Hare. He is an IEEE member and also an IEE Power and Energy Society member. At present, he is a graduate member of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers and his an adhoc Eskom M&V Engineer with the University of Fort Hare team. Mr Tangwe is an energy efficiency research candidate with an emphasis on heat pump and refrigeration technology. He is a MATLAB Application Engineer as well as a member of South Africa energy efficiency association (SAEE) and World society of sustainable and energy technology (WSSET). Mr Tangwe is a seasoned author in many peer review accredited national and international journals and conferences.


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LaviniaPerumal


Miss Lavinia perumal

University of Cape Town 

Proposed Title: Ecological assets and large-scale infrastructure in Africa: future impacts on biodiversity intactness, ecological function and ecosystem services

She completed her BSc undergraduate and Honours degree in environmental science at the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN). This degree not only informed her about the scientific world but the socio-ecological aspects associated with it. After completing several human geography, environmental management and ecology modules throughout her degree, she realised that she enjoyed research, specifically in ecology. She then worked as a research assistant, investigating species distribution data, at UKZN. Thereafter she completed a year long research project in the field of biogeography (UKZN HONS), looking at the patterns of feeding within a subfamily of Entiminae weevils in a KwaZulu Natal nature reserve. After completing her honours degree she moved to Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape to complete an MSc in Ecology at Rhodes University. The MSc, which in the submission process, looks at the role of herbivory in bush encroachment and biome transitions within semi -arid savannas. Her PhD research which involves supervision from SANBI, UCT and IIASA will investigate the interactions that exist between biodiversity conservation, food production and infrastructure development in South Africa. Her general research interests include global change biology, biogeography and ecology.

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Miss Rebecca Karpul

University of Cape Town

Proposed Title: A multi-biome experiment testing sensitivity to changes in rainfall seasonality in the Cape Floristic Region

Rebecca’s research focuses on how the ecological productivity of terrestrial systems can limit socio-economic growth globally. Using a combination of her compassion, enthusiasm and scientific knowledge, she hopes to influence the minds of those around to positively affect our society with the hope that one day the world will see South Africa as a pioneer in environmental conservation. Her studies to date have been conducted at the University of Cape Town which is ideally situated at the centre of her primary research area and offers access to the dedicated Department of Biological Sciences. Rebecca’s Masters research used a combination of physiological measurements to investigate the sensitivity of a widespread proteoid species in the Fynbos Biome of South Africa to potential changes in climate. The findings of this research are in press, Tree Physiology. She has also participated in various forms of experimental research and community conservation projects, such as coral reef management with the not-for-profit organisation, Blue Ventures Conservation Madagascar. Rebecca believes that South Africa, being a developing country, has the potential to show the world that achieving economic status on par with developed countries can occur without damaging our delicate systems. Her desire to experience this reality drives her commitment to achieve excellence in both learning and teaching every day. A doctoral degree and further research into the drivers of global change will equip her to make relevant and useful decisions for not only her own benefit but also for those whom she hopes to have the opportunity to lecture.

 

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Miss Ndoni Mcunu

University of Witwatersrand

Proposed Title: Intensification of crop diversity on limited land for small- holder farmers

Miss Ndoni Mcunu holds a Master in Science (MSc) in Applied Environmental Science. Her specialisation was in Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Her study focused on how RS and GIS could be used to improve and assist rangeland and agricultural managers in monitoring the changes of our grasslands. This will assist farmers in implementing the benefits of precision agricultural practices. Furthermore, will serve as a warning system to farmers in the case of unpredicted climate changes. Miss Mcunu holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Science and Geography. She is currently perusing her PhD at Witwatersrand University. Miss Mcunu is also the founder & member of Black Women in Science (BWIS), a registered non-profit organization which aims at providing knowledge and awareness of science for rural women. She was selected as Miss Earth South Africa Environmental Ambassador. She aims to influence young females to pursue a career in Science. Ndoni Mcunu aims to be an influential scientist in the private and public sector through accomplishing knowledge through research of sustainable food security and agricultural practices through relevance to South Africans. Her core passion is analyzing and practicing sustainable agricultural practices in South Africa to aid in mitigating climate change. Therefore, finding innovative ways to monitor and evaluate South Africa’s agricultural systems for small holder commercial farmers Furthermore, through the platform of Black Women in Science (BWIS) and exposing young females into the industry. Her passion and zeal is poverty alleviation through mechanisms such as education. Her core belief is that any form of education changes ones perspective, way of thinking and empowers them to better their condition, therefore through her skills and knowledge she aims to give back to younger women and change their mind set.


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Miss Amanda Gcanga

Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Proposed Title: Adaptation of Participatory and Livelihood Approaches in Revising Catchment Water Allocation Reform Strategies: A case study of Breede Gouritz Catchment Management Area

Ms Amanda Gcanga has started a PhD focusing on water governance and water allocation reforms. She holds an MS c in Water Resource Management from Wageningen University. She started as a civil engineer, with a ND from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and a BTech from Cape Peninsula University of technology. Subsequently she made a successful transition into a cross-disciplinary land and water management young scientist. She is a diligent and hardworking researcher, who is socially versatile and capable of doing in-depth field research in difficult contexts. Her interests lie in academia, policy making, and doing research for social impact. She is developing deep reflection into what makes water reform problematic in South Africa. Insert picture


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Mr. Luckson Muyemeki

North West University

Proposed Title: Assessment of emissions offset in the Vaal Triangle as a successful mitigation strategy to reduce human health impacts from poor air quality

Mr Muyemeki is an environmentalist who has a strong passion in Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing. He is a hard working person who is motivated by challenges. Luckson studied for an honours degree in Geography and Environmental Studies (from 2006-2010) at Midlands Sate University in Gweru, Zimbabwe. This program involved a one-year industrial attachment, of which he was attached at the University of Zimbabwe. This is where he developed his passion and skills in GIS and Remote Sensing. During my undergraduate studies I joined the departmental environmental society in which he was appointed as a secretary. Through this group he was able to provide community environmental awareness and carried out clean up campaigns at disease hot spots such as vegetable markets. For his dissertation at honours level, he focused on modelling evapotranspiration rates over sugarcane fields using GIS and Remote Sensing. From his dissertation he published an article titled “The relationship between satellite derived and ground measured sugar cane water use: The case of Hippo Valley Estates in Zimbabwe”. Mr Muyemeki passed his honours degree with a distinction. After completion of his honours degree he worked as a teacher (2010-2012) in which he taught Geography at Ordinary level and Advanced level. From 2013-2015, Luckson studied for an MSc degree in Geography and Environmental Management at North West University, South Africa. His MSc research focused on sulphur dioxide air pollution from power stations and how sulphur dioxide air pollution affects changes in bird species density and diversity. This involved satellite image texture analysis and the modelling of spatial and temporal variations of sulphur dioxide around Matimba and Medupi power stations in Lephalale, South Africa. From his research he submitted a manuscript titled “Baseline assessment of the density and diversity of birds around Matimba and Medupi power stations”. This manuscript is currently under review.


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Miss Notiswa Libala

Rhodes University

Proposed Title: A social-ecological perspective to the resilience and vulnerability of hillslope seeps functionality in the Upper Mzimvumbu River Catchment, Eastern Cape South Africa

Notiswa Libala is currently working on her PhD in water resource sciences at RU. In 2012 she received her four-year Bachelor of Science and Agriculture degree with majors in livestock and rangeland science. Notiswa also holds an MSc degree in agriculture (Rangeland science) from the University of Fort Hare. Her research background involves the fields of livestock production, ecology, and water resource sciences. These fields have a requirement for social and environmental interactions in common. As a research assistant at the Institute for Water Research, she gained an interest in water resource management. Her research interest lies in linking natural resource management – associated with water and soil – to the livelihoods and empowerment of rural people.Notiswa’s current research focuses on understanding the resilience and vulnerability of hill slope functionality to disturbances, in terms of their biodiversity and the supporting landscape and social processes. She is using the broad framework of social-ecological systems, taking a perspective that the overall system is an integrated unit with components that are mutually constitutive and co-supportive.Notiswa is a committee member for Eastern Cape young water professionals; and also a student member for Water Institute of South Africa.





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Miss Nanamhla Gwedla

Rhodes University

Proposed Title:  Barriers and enablers to tree planting in low-cost housing suburbs: lessons from participatory learning approaches in rapidly urbanising, small, South African towns


Nanamhla Gwedla is a PhD candidate in the Environmental Science Department at Rhodes University under the supervision of Professor Charlie Shackleton. Her research expertise and interests are anchored on the nexus of urban ecology, forestry and greening, and environmental sustainability, with a keen interest on urban greening and transdisciplinary research. The focus of her current research, funded by DST/NRF Chair in Interdisciplinary Science in Land & Natural Resource Use for Sustainable Livelihoods, is on “Addressing barriers and enhancing enablers to tree planting in low-cost housing suburbs: lessons from participatory learning approaches in rapidly urbanising, small, South African towns”. She has experience in working with municipalities and local residents, and her recently completed Master of Science thesis (2014-2015) from Rhodes University looked at the “Street tree composition, distribution and urban residents’ perceptions within and between Eastern Cape towns. She completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Science in 2013, and her Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Science and Geography in 2012, both at Rhodes University. The findings from her honours research entitled “The development visions and attitudes towards urban forestry of officials responsible for greening in South African towns” were published in the Land Use Policy Journal 42 (2015) 17-26, and presented at various conferences both internationally (Sweden) and locally. She has also published a popular article entitled “Urban forestry for sustainable towns: The visions of municipal parks’ managers in the Eastern Cape” in the South African edition of the Environmental Management Magazine. She was the 2015 Environmental Science Postgraduate representative and has been a Trojan Initiative Academic Programme mentor in the Science Extended Studies Unit for two years (2013 and 2015). She has participated in a number of community engagement programmes around Grahamstown, and is currently an Eskom Expo for Young Scientists mentor.

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Mr. Phathutshedzo R. Khangale

University of Johannesburg

Proposed Title: CO2 conversion to synthetic fuel via Fischer - Tropsch process

Mr. Phathutshedzo Khangale is an assistant lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, department of Chemical Engineering Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Johannesburg and will be graduating with a Master of Technology degree also in Chemical Engineering very soon from the same institution. His research interests include heterogeneous catalysis and Fischer – Tropsch synthesis. Recently, he has applied for registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) as a candidate engineering technologist. He is pursuing a PhD degree with the topic: CO2 conversion to synthetic fuel via Fischer - Tropsch process, under the supervision of Prof Kalala Jalama. To date, he has published three conference proceedings and will be submitting a Journal manuscript very soon.