SAs make their mark: Dr Albert van Jaarsveld will in October 2018 take over as CEO and director-general of IIASA, becoming the second South African to be appointed as the Institute’s governance structures over recent months.

Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, vice-chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), has been appointed as director-general and CEO of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

Dr Van Jaarsveld will take up the position – one of the most senior positions in the Institute – on 1 October 2018. IIASA is an international scientific institute that aims to provide scientific insight and guidance to policymakers worldwide by finding solutions to global problems through applied systems analysis.

IIASA also inspired the founding of the Southern African Systems Analysis Centre (SASAC), established under the aegis of the South African National Research Foundation (NRF). SASAC seeks to create a cadre of systems analysis scholars through, for example, the funding of doctoral students placed at South African universities.

“We are delighted that Albert van Jaarsveld will become IIASA’s eleventh director-general,” said Professor Mike Clegg, chairperson of the IIASA Council that made the appointment. “He brings to IIASA wide-ranging experience in research management, administration, and scientific leadership. On behalf of the IIASA Council, which represents the interests of science academies and national research funders in 23 nations around the world, I warmly welcome Dr van Jaarsveld to IIASA.”

Dr van Jaarsveld joined UKZN as vice-chancellor and principal in 2015. Prior to this, he was CEO of the NRF, where he doubled the budget from R2 billion to R4 billion, and led the research funder’s drive for excellence and transformation across the South African research landscape.

“Leading IIASA into the next decade greatly motivates me,” said Dr van Jaarsveld. “I am passionate both about protecting the environment and about using science as a force for positive change at the global level—both of which are central to IIASA’s work and mission. I look forward to working with IIASA staff, its National Member Organizations, and IIASA’s large network of collaborators across the world for a better future.”

Dr Van Jaarsveld joins another recent South African appointment on IIASA’s governance structures. In November 2017, Dr Gansen Pillay, deputy-CEO of the NRF’s Research and Innovation, Support and Advancement (RISA) business unit, was named as the deputy chairperson of the IIASA Council.

South African VC to lead IIASA