The Consortium

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) is a public university located in the Bellville suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. Established in 1960 by the South African government as a university for coloured people only, UWC has a history of creative struggle against oppression, discrimination and disadvantage. Among academic institutions it has been in the vanguard of South Africa’s historic change, playing a distinctive academic role in helping to build an equitable and dynamic nation. UWC’s key concerns with access, equity and quality in higher education arise from extensive practical engagement in helping the historically marginalised participate fully in the life of the nation. In the post-apartheid era, it has developed a reputation as a research-focused institution of note.

Stellenbosch University is a public research university situated in Stellenbosch, a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Stellenbosch is jointly the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest existing university in Sub-Saharan Africa alongside the University of Cape Town, both officially founded as universities in 1918. With 18 research chairs under the NRF South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI), the University is regarded as a leader in the fields of biomedical tuberculosis research and management, wine biotechnology, animal sciences and mathematical biosciences. Stellenbosch is the second-highest ranked African University according to the 2017-2018 QS World University Rankings.

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, is a multi-campus South African public research university situated in the northern areas of central Johannesburg. It is more commonly known as Wits University. The university has its roots in the mining industry, as do Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand in general. Founded in 1896 as the South African School of Mines in Kimberley, it is the third oldest South African university in continuous operation, after the University of Cape Town (founded in 1829), and Stellenbosch University (founded in 1866). Alumni include Nobel Laureates Aaron Klug (Chemistry, 1982), Nadine Gordimer (Literature, 1991), Sydney Brenner (Physiology or Medicine, 2002), and Nelson Mandela (Peace, 1993), who attended but did not graduate from the university. Wits also hosts the national chair in Global change and systems analysis, established as part of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI).

The University of Limpopo is a university in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. It was formed on 1 January 2005 by the merger of the University of the North and the Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA). These institutions had previously formed the Turfloop and MEDUNSA campuses of the University, respectively. In 2015 the MEDUNSA campus split and became the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.



The National Research Foundation (NRF) was established as an independent government agency, through the National Research Foundation Act (Act No 23 of 1998). The mandate of the NRF is to promote and support research through funding, human resource development and the provision of the necessary research facilities in order to facilitate the creation of knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of science and technology, including indigenous knowledge, and thereby contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of all South Africans.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an independent international non-governmental research organisation, headquartered in Luxemburg, Austria, that provides science-based insights into complex global, regional and national problems. IIASA conducts policy-oriented scientific research in three global problem areas, namely 1) energy and climate change; 2) food and water; and 3) poverty and equity. Its three cross-cutting research areas are 1) drivers of global transformations; 2) advanced systems analysis; and 3) policy and governance. South Africa’s engagements with IIASA and specifically with regard to SASAC relate primarily to the DST’s broader goal of harnessing science, technology and innovation to fight poverty, inequality and unemployment. The collaboration must contribute to key DST strategies such as the Ten-Year Innovation Plan, the Bio-economy Strategythe ICT Research Development and Innovation Implementation Roadmap and the Human Capital Development Strategy for Research Innovation and Scholarship. Prof Mary Scholes, one of the Consortium Members from the University of the Witwatersrand, chairs the Science Advisory Council of IIASA.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. It has offices in over 100 countries around the world, including 20 Sub-Saharan African nations. The British Council has been operating in South Africa since the 1950s, consistently carrying out cultural relations work even during difficult times. Its objectives span education, the arts, English and intercultural dialogue. The organisation works across public, private and third sectors in the UK and worldwide.