CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria


The 8th Biennial CSIR Conference will take place on 2 and 3 November 2022, at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria, South Africa under the theme ‘Harnessing research, development and innovation for a robust South African economy’.

The conference, which is one of the flagship initiatives to celebrate our contribution to research, development and innovation in South Africa, will provide a platform to showcase our multiple research capabilities and the continued impact of our strategy in contributing to industrial development and supporting a capable state. The conference bolsters our position as a leading scientific and technology research organisation that conducts research, develops, localises and diffuses technologies to accelerate socioeconomic prosperity in South Africa.

This year, our stakeholders will get a glimpse of the progress we have made in implementing the strategy we adopted in 2019 through exhibitions and presentations by our researchers. It is an opportunity for our stakeholders, partners and funders to share in the advancements that have been made, as well as expand on the collaboration efforts that are key to the continued success of our organisation. The conference and its associated events will also serve as a platform to celebrate our 77th anniversary as the organisation since our inception in 1945.

The programme will include a plenary session which will feature key industry speakers. Parallel sessions have been designed around our nine synergistic clusters and will entail a range of talks and interviews, as well as tours of various CSIR facilities.




Dr Njabulo Siyakatshana


Dr Njabulo Siyakatshana, Pr. Eng. completed his MSc in chemical engineering at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague, Czech Republic in 2001 and thereafter completed a PhD in chemical and process engineering at the same institute in 2006. He completed the Programme in Project Management at the University of Pretoria in 2015. His early research was on modelling multiphase reactors using computational fluid dynamics and stochastic methods.

In 2007, he joined the CSIR as a postdoctoral researcher with a focus on process intensification of some key chemical processes and secondary agrochemical processing. In 2009, his focus as CSIR Senior Researcher was on mathematical modelling and simulation of industrial and environmental processes for design and improvement such as carbon emissions and electrolytic cells. In 2013, he became the Research Group Leader for Advanced Mathematical Modelling and in 2016 Research Group Leader for Mobile and Intelligent Autonomous Systems (Robotics).

He joined the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation in 2018 as a Programme Manager for Research and Technology Development, managing a portfolio of technology development programmes such fluorochemical expansion, advanced materials and energy storage initiatives. In September 2020, he re-joined the CSIR as a Research Group Leader for Climate and Air Quality Modelling.

TanJa Hichert

Looking out for weak signals and 'Pockets of the future in the – How to do emerging issues analysis and why it matters

Tanja Hichert is a qualified and highly experienced futures and foresight practitioner who specialises in applied systems thinking, scenario planning, horizon scanning, strategic foresight, risk management and facilitating strategic conversations, which provide clarity and direction for organisations and institutions faced with complexity and uncertainty. 

In addition to running the Hichert and Associates futures and foresight consulting firm for the past 18 years, Hichert holds positions as:

  • Co-chair of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Chair in Complex Systems and Transformative African Futures at Stellenbosch University, and
  • Strategic Foresight Advisor for the United Nations Development Programme’s Strategy and Futures Team.

Hichert has extensive experience in strategic foresight process design and applying futures and foresight to a vast range of issues in the public and private sector. She also has a solid track record of accomplishment in business strategy and strategic planning project management.  

She teaches postgraduate students and has a passion for expanding and building the practical application of future studies on the African continent, and where opportunity allows, a love for innovative and experimental approaches working at the intersection of complex issues.

DR Jabu Mtsweni


Dr Jabu Mtsweni is head of the CSIR Information and Cybersecurity Centre. He is an NRF-rated researcher (C2), a certified cybersecurity manager, research fellow at the University of South Africa, information warfare board member at the Department of Defence, and technical leader of the National Policy Data Observatory, supporting the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, the National Corona Virus Command Council and the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Vaccination Programme. Mtsweni has been involved in leading, supporting and implementing large and complex information security and information and communications technology projects in large and complex environments. His research interests and technical expertise are in digital security, digital transformation, data science, information warfare, cybersecurity and cybercrimes. He has over 19 years’ academic and industry experience and has published over 70 peer-reviewed conference and journal articles with several collaborators.

Dr Vincent Ojijo


Ojijo is a CSIR Principal Researcher and the Research Group Leader for Advanced Polymer Composites. He holds a DTech in polymer technology from the Tshwane University of Technology, an MSc in project management from the University of Pretoria and undergraduate and Master’s degrees in chemical engineering. He has research interests in polymer processing, polymer nanocomposites, polymer blends, bioplastics and polymer waste stream beneficiation. 

The CSIR develops polymer (nano) composites and their production processes for downstream beneficiation of conventional, bio-based and biodegradable polymers. It has at its disposal, well-equipped labs for research and development and pilot-scale polymer processing, as well as a wide range of testing and characterisation equipment. This includes the recently launched biodegradation test facility, which is unique and the only laboratory in Africa for testing the biodegradation and compostability of different materials as per international ASTM, OECD, EN and ISO standards. The facility helps in establishing the conditions and timeframes of biodegradation of materials and verifying biodegradable claims on products. It is available to commercial clients for the testing of local and imported biodegradable and compostable products.

DR Duarte Goncalves

A systemic approach to critical infrastructure risk and security capabilities

Dr Duarte Gonçalves has led the ongoing development and application of a whole-of-society approach to security in the areas of infrastructure security, border security, disaster management, wildlife crime, and food and nutrition security. In this capacity, he works with a variety of government departments, social scientists, engineers and other experts and has developed experience in research methods in security, complexity and futures studies. These approaches have led to several novel policy inputs, organisational interventions and technical systems. 

He is a CSIR Principal Engineer and holds a PhD in engineering development and management.

Peter Bosscha

A bilevel positive airway pressure non-invasive ventilator

As CSIR Research Group Leader: Industrial Robotics, Bosscha directed the engineering team behind the CSIR ventilator system that made headlines in 2020 when it provided a local solution for patients with respiratory distress due to Covid-19.  

His focus is on product development and conducting research and development in industrial automation, new platforms and algorithms for robot control, and application of machine learning techniques.

Bosscha holds an MSc in mechatronics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has several publications to his name and inventions sold in local and international markets. With over 35 years’ experience in electronic and software engineering, product development and project management, his passion is using innovation to boost local industrial competitiveness.

Aradhna Pandarum


Aradhna Pandarum is the CSIR Acting Research Group Leader: Energy Industry. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from Howard College, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and a Master’s degree in electrical engineering (renewable energy) from the University of the Witwatersrand. She serves as a technical board member of Cigre South Africa, representing the country in the international C6 study committee on active distribution systems and distributed energy resources. She is also registered as a professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa. She is passionate about research in the renewable energy space. While working at Eskom, she gained invaluable experience in research, testing and development, especially on renewable energy – predominantly centred on embedded generation and its technical, economic, operational and environmental impact.

At the CSIR, Pandarum is the programme and group lead for research work related to the Just Energy Transition. The focal point of this work is to promote social justice and create unique opportunities for the energy industry, thus touching lives through innovation, specifically combating poverty, unemployment and inequality in South Africa

Anne-Marie Lubbe


Lubbe has been in service in the passenger rail industry for more than 30 years and has experience in strategy and business planning, business performance and information management, gained since 1996. Her experience was gained in Metrorail, a division of Transnet prior to 2006, and subsequently in the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), in corporate strategy and the Group CEO’s office. As General Manager: Strategy at PRASA, she is responsible for strategy development, business performance monitoring, benchmarking, research and document management. 

Lubbe holds a BSc (Mathematical Sciences) from the (then) Rand Afrikaans University, a Management Development Programme certificate from Wits Business School, Master of Business Leadership from the University of South Africa, and a Master of Science (Managing Organisational Performance) from Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom.

Ashley Patience

Aquaculture research, development and innovation: Crossing the divide to substantial delivery

After a lifetime as an educator of biological and natural sciences, Patience recently obtained qualifications in aquaculture and sustainable agriculture at Stellenbosch University to fulfil a lifelong desire to engage in research, development and innovation in aquaculture that would promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, food security and alternative livelihoods among historically disadvantaged communities. He has undertaken research among small-scale fish farmers in Limpopo to address farmers’ needs and transfer technology. Patience is also a new farmer of black mussel in Saldanha Bay. He has a BSc (Hons), Postgraduate Diploma (Education), Postgraduate Diploma (Aquaculture) and an MSc (Sustainable Agriculture).

DR Janine Scholefield


Dr Janine Scholefield is the CSIR Research Group Leader: Bioengineering and Integrated Genomics.​ After completing her PhD in human genetics at the University of Cape Town (UCT), she spent three years as a Nuffield Medical Fellow at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Since returning to South Africa, she has been specialising in cellular modelling of disease and was the first to establish induced pluripotent stem cell research in the country. Her research interest is in developing physiologically relevant cellular models of disease, using advanced technologies, including super-resolution microscopy, stem cells and genome engineering, especially within the unique context of the diverse sub-Saharan African genetic background. In addition to leading bioengineering and integrated genomics at the CSIR, she holds a Senior Honorary Lectureship position in the Department of Human Biology at UCT, while steering the nature publication Gene Therapy as its editor-in-chief.​

DR Jerolen Naidoo


Dr Jerolen Naidoo is a CSIR Senior Researcher in bioengineering and integrative genomics at the CSIR. He graduated with a PhD in cell biology from the Institute for Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT). His research focused on high-content screening and its application to understanding HIV-host interactions. He then undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in a CSIR-UCT initiative, where he applied high-content screening and 3D organoid technologies towards establishing a functional precision medicine in oncology platform. His current research at the CSIR is focused on precision medicine-based applications, including the development of induced pluripotent stem cell-based “disease-in-a-dish” models and the role of the gut microbiome in the context of disease risk and environmental health in South Africa.

DR Nyambeni Luruli


Dr Nyambeni Luruli is a polymer specialist and has over 15 years of industrial experience, gained locally and internationally in the fields of research and development, polymer analysis, technical services and sales.

He has worked locally for Sasol and internationally for Saudi (Sahara) International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He has application knowledge of various polymeric materials, such as polyolefins, polyesters and elastomers, among others. His work included offering technical services in pipe, profiles, flooring, raffia and fibre, as well as films in the Southern African Development Community region and Middle East. 

He has a BSc (Pure and Applied Chemistry) from the University of Cape Town and a BSc (Hons), an MSc and a PhD (all in polymer science) from Stellenbosch University. During his PhD studies, he held research fellowships with the German Institute of Polymers (Darmstadt, Germany) and Katholik University of Leuven (Leuven, Belgium). He has supervised postgraduate students and published several research papers in international peer-reviewed journals in the fields of polymer chemistry, polymer physics and material science and engineering.

Nyambeni is the Technical Services and Development Leader at Safripol.

DR Tracey Hurrell


Dr Tracey Hurrell is a CSIR Senior Researcher in bioengineering and integrated genomics. She completed her PhD in pharmacology at the University of Pretoria, while also attending the University of Cambridge as a Commonwealth Scholar. Her research was focused on establishing advanced cellular liver models and comparing the proteome for application in drug-induced liver injury screening. Following her PhD, she spent two years as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Section of Pharmacogenetics, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, focusing on establishing disease models using primary human hepatocyte. In her role at the CSIR, she is working on developing contextualised cellular liver models, which can be utilised in guiding healthcare initiatives in Africa.

Prof. Moses Azong Cho

CSIR-developed precision agriculture information system to support emerging farmers

Prof. Moses Azong Cho is a CSIR Chief Researcher and Research Group Leader: Precision Agriculture. He is a professor at the Plant and Soil Science Department of the University of Pretoria. He holds a PhD in hyperspectral remote sensing of vegetation from the Wageningen University and International Institute from Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation in The Netherlands. His research focus involves developing Earth observation tools and applications that support planning and decision-making for precision agriculture and biodiversity conservation. These include the use of satellite and drone imaging for assessing crop growth and stress, discriminating vegetation types, vegetation change (such as bush encroachment and alien species invasion) and the impact of global change on vegetation systems, such as during drought. He is a National Research Foundation C1-rated researcher, president of the African Chapter of the International Association of Landscape Ecology and an associate editor for the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. He has published over 100 journal and conference articles. 

Carel de Jager

The Metaverse: South African perspectives

Carel de Jager holds a Master’s degree in chemical engineering and is the CSIR Research Group Leader: Distributed Ledger Technology. He started his career as a chemical engineer in the energy industry. 

He has extensive experience in blockchain technology and acts as a thought leader in the South African industry. Since he encountered the technology in 2016, he has co-founded a training institution and a software company that specialises in blockchain engineering. Over the years, he has coached numerous executives from law firms, insurance providers, regulators and commercial banks – both locally and abroad – on the technology. 

De Jager is a public speaker who often explains technical use cases for blockchain technology in a simple and practical way. He has been on stage more than 100 times, at international conferences and regulatory consultancy panels as well as on national television and radio.

DR Darryl Naidoo

A novel, local laser system development with a commercial partner

Dr Darryl Naidoo is a CSIR Principal Researcher and currently the Research Group Leader: Laser Beam Shaping at the CSIR Photonics Centre. Naidoo joined the CSIR on an MSc studentship in 2009 and then went on to complete his PhD in physics in 2015 on a PhD studentship. His research focus is on laser beam shaping, higher-order transverse mode selection and bulk solid-state lasers. He has over 40 peer-reviewed publications to his name, with highlights in nature photonics, Optica and Nature’s Light: Science and Applications.

Naidoo is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand and a member of several industry forums in the photonics and laser community. In addition to several CSIR Excellence Awards, he also received a scholarship from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, a R5 million National Research Foundation Equipment Grant (2019) and the Silver Medal from the South African Institute of Physics. He has been invited to overseas laboratories, such as the Université de Caen, France, and the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Germany.

DR Gyu Myoung Lee

Dr Gyu Myoung Lee has been a professor at the Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), in the United Kingdom since 2014 and an Adjunct Professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Institute for IT convergence since 2012. Prior to joining the LJMU, he worked with the Institut Mines-Telecom, Télécom SudParis in France. He has worked with the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute in Korea, and has also worked as a research professor in KAIST, as well as a guest researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the United States of America. 

His research interests include artificial intelligence (AI) powered internet of things (IoT), digital twin, computational trust, trust in data and AI, privacy preserving with blockchain, knowledge-centric networking and services, multimedia services, and energy-saving technologies. He is actively working in the International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), Internet Engineering Task Force and oneM2M. 

He was the chair of the Focus Group on Data Processing and Management to support IoT and Smart Cities and Communities and currently serves as the WP3 chair in study group 13, the Rapporteur of Q16/13 and Q4/20, as well as a vice-chair of the Focus Group on Autonomous Networks and the Focus Group on AI and IoT for Digital Agriculture in the ITU-T. He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

He received his BSc degree from Hongik University, Seoul, in 1999 and his MSc and PhD degrees from KAIST in 2000 and 2007, respectively.

DR Bernelle Verster

Metaverse: Setting the scene

Dr Bernelle Verster has a background in biotechnology, which is the integration of natural sciences and engineering. She has an interest in urban metabolism (flows of materials and energy within cities), especially the visualisation of these resource flows. She also explores the bioeconomy, which involves producing renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources and waste into products. She has a special interest in integrating data visualisation, gamification and open-source technology into biotechnology. Her focus has shifted to the creation of a metaverse-like interactive Internet platform, which allows remote participation in workspaces and e-commerce, which she is developing from an African perspective.

DR Marie Smith

The aquaculture decision support tool of the Oceans and Coasts Monitoring Information System

Dr Marie Smith holds a PhD in ocean and atmosphere science from the University of Cape Town and has 15 years of experience in marine remote sensing. She joined the CSIR in 2017 on a National Research Foundation Professional Development Programme for postdoctoral research. She has been part of the CSIR’s Earth observation research group since 2019, and became an honorary research associate of the Department of Oceanography at the University of Cape Town earlier this year. Her main areas of interest are harnessing satellite Earth observation data for coastal marine applications such as harmful algal bloom detection, aquaculture, fisheries and water quality decision support.

PROF. Marianne Vanderschuren


Prof. Marianne Vanderschuren holds a Bachelor of Science (Engineering), a Master of Science (Engineering) and a PhD from various Dutch universities and has over 30 years of experience in the field of transport planning and engineering. Since 2000, she has been working at the Centre for Transport Studies at the University of Cape Town, where she is a full professor and the holder of the DSI-NRF/CSIR Co-funded South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) in Smart Mobility Research.

Vanderschuren conducts research and provides education, focusing on the improvement of quality of life for the African population, in general, and South Africans, in particular. Her work ranges from vulnerable road users, transport equity and sustainability (including energy efficiency and the reduction of road crashes), to the use of big data, transport modelling and information and telecommunication technologies in the transport system. Vanderschuren is an editor for three international journals and the 2022 President of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering.

Sibongile Ntsoelengoe


Johanna Sibongile (Bongi) Ntsoelengoe has a BSc in metallurgy and material engineering and a BSc Honours in metallurgical engineering from the University of Pretoria; an Advanced Management Programme from the University of Navarra and its IESE Business School; and a Master of Business Administration from GIBS Business School. She joined the CSIR in 2020 as the Cluster Executive Manager for CSIR Future Production: Mining.

In her 15 years in the mining industry, Ntsoelengoe has focused on process engineering, working with commodities such as iron ore and base metal. She has held various positions in the mining industry, which has given her in-depth knowledge of and experience in the mining value chain, including in plant commissioning, metallurgical processing, commodity marketing, conducting research and development and successfully implementing digital innovation solutions at mining operations. 

In her role at the CSIR, Ntsoelengoe continues to contribute towards supporting the digital and innovation drive in the mining industry. She recently led a team in developing the CSIR mining strategy, emanating from of extensive stakeholder engagement with senior mining executes within the industry. In her role, she is responsible for fostering strategic partnerships among mining industry stakeholders, such as the Minerals Council, and leading impactful research, development and innovation to bridge the gaps for the South African mining industry, an area in which the CSIR has established corresponding niche capabilities.

Marius Boshoff

Challenges in future plant health management - An integrated crop management perspective

Boshoff is an experienced executive in the agricultural industry, skilled in food value chain management, agrochemicals, farming, biotechnology and field research in agronomy and horticultural fields. He holds an MSc (Agric), specialising in plant pathology, from the University of Pretoria. He currently leads the strategic direction for Winfield United South Africa.  

His career spans over 30 years in various roles in the farming and crop protection industry. His previous roles include: Country Manager for Southern Africa; Project Leader for Africa, Middle East and Turkey; Sales and Marketing Leader for DuPont de Nemours Southern Africa; Crop Specialist; Food chain and Development Manager at Syngenta South Africa and Field Trialist, Farm Management and Nursery Management at the Merensky Foundation, one of the largest fruit and forestry companies in South Africa. 

Additionally, as a certified Six Sigma Black Belt in Sales and Marketing and a qualified total quality management specialist, he has significant experience in project management across Africa, the Middle East and Turkey. In the crop protection industry in South Africa, he has been an active executive committee member of the industry body, CropLife. He has also served as a Vice President (two terms) and President, leading the restructuring process for the organisation to align to future farming needs.

His passion lies in technical marketing and analytical problem solving in agriculture and he has a successful track record in product and business project development. He subscribes to the view that without data, all you have is an opinion.  

Santosh Ramchuran

Technology development and localisation of bio-based products for agricultural and preventative health

Ramchuran has over 25 years’ experience in the biotechnology sector, having held positions at African Explosives and Chemical Industry, SA Bio-products and the Biotechnology Regional Innovation Centre in KwaZulu-Natal. He is a successful leader in science and technology with proven abilities in developing, implementing and commercialising innovative technologies, products and bioprocesses in South Africa and internationally. Ramchuran holds a PhD in chemical engineering from Lund University, Sweden and a PMD from the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. He is the author of and contributor to several peer-reviewed papers in the fields of biotechnology, applied microbiology, bioprocessing and recombinant proteins. He currently serves as a chairperson, moderator and assessor on various research and evaluation panels, including the National Research Foundation, and provides mentorship to biotech start-ups. He also serves as a member of the review committee for the sub-Saharan L’Oréal Women in Science Awards, holds a Research Fellow position in the School of Life Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is a member of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions. At the CSIR, he focuses on the development, optimisation and biomanufacturing of various disruptive bio-based products and technologies for adoption and implementation in South African industries and small, medium and micro enterprises. His core expertise includes bioprocess engineering and process development, recombinant protein production, protein purification, bio-manufacturing, and bio-entrepreneurship.

Hartmut Brodner

A customised trackless mobile machinery collision prevention system digital twin

Hartmut Brodner holds a BSc and an MSc in chemical engineering from the University of Cape Town. He joined the CSIR in 2021 as Business Development Manager for CSIR Future Production: Mining.

Brodner has spent 10 years in the mining industry in various roles and parts of the mining value chain. He has held significant positions in the area of metallurgy at Anglo American and was General Manager: Technical Sales Support for Capital Equipment at Metso Outotec. Brodner currently focuses on developing strategic partnerships with leading industry players and high-impact mine modernisation programmes to support South Africa’s mining industry.

Brodner is also currently acting as Impact Area Manager for People-centred Mining Modernisation. In this role, he supports the mines with their automation, digital transformation and decarbonisation programmes, by dealing directly with the mining houses or through key original equipment manufacturers and original technology manufacturers.

Prof. Greta Dreyer

The unmet need for cancer treatment in South Africa

Prof. Greta Dreyer is a locally and internationally trained gynaecologic oncologist who heads the Gynaecologic Oncology Unit at the University of Pretoria, where she works as a researcher, clinician and teacher. Apart from being a passionate clinician and an accomplished cancer surgeon, she has a PhD in gynaecologic cancer genetics and is a well published, awarded and rated researcher.

She is an active member of several national and international societies and has current and previous leadership roles in the South African Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, South African Society of Gynaecologic Oncology and the International Gynecologic Cancer Society, where she is the President Elect.

John Fox


Fox has been involved in sustainable packaging for the last 15 years. He is a qualified optometrist who made the switch to sustainable packaging after seeing the environmental impact of packaging on our planet.

Fox obtained a one-year diploma in packaging, which he passed cum laude, from the Packaging Institute. He has lectured the course, as well as given guest lectures at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University, among other institutions.

He has won numerous awards in the field of sustainability, including the National Geographic Award for the world’s first compostable coffee pouch and the Institute of Packaging SA Sustainability Award, to mention a few.

Fox was chairman of the Western Cape Institute of Packaging for two terms between 2015 and 2018. He is currently chairman of the newly formed Compostable Packaging Council. He specialises in sustainable packaging and creating closed loop systems working towards zero waste.

Jenny-Lee Panayides


Dr Jenny-Lee Panayides is a CSIR Principal Researcher and Research Group Leader: Pharmaceutical Technologies. She holds a PhD in synthetic chemistry and microbiology from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a certificate in advanced project management from the University of Pretoria. She was previously employed by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and her early research focused on medicinal chemistry and the application of high-throughput screening technologies. 

During her time at the SAMRC, she worked as a principal investigator focusing on projects that supported the malaria eradication agenda through the development of transmission-blocking agents, identified novel pharmacophores with activity against multiple strains of drug-resistant malaria, focused on the structure-aided discovery of novel treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and investigated inhibitors as targeted therapeutic agents for breast cancer. 

In recent years, Panayides has shifted her research focus to supporting the self-sufficiency of African pharmaceutical manufacturing through the localisation of modern manufacturing technologies. She now drives an applied research programme in hybrid process development (incorporating flow chemistry, batch synthesis and biocatalysis), alongside the integration of smart control and monitoring for intelligent process transformation. Over the last few years, Panayides has been actively involved in the development of the CSIR Synapse Strategy, has driven the establishment of the Pharmaceutical Technology Innovation Platform and is the CSIR project lead for the FuturePHARMA facility build.

Panayides provides thought leadership on various working groups in the pharmaceutical and fourth industrial revolution technology space, and is a chairperson, moderator, assessor and reviewer for national and international funding applications. Her research track record includes publications in peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations and postgraduate student supervision. She has been acknowledged with a number of CSIR awards, including those for Emerging Leader, Human Capital Development and Outstanding Contribution by a Research Team.

Rachelle Botha


Rachelle Botha is the Business Head of Special Capital Projects for I-CAT Environmental Solutions, which is a leading environmental products solutions company. 

With more than 10 years of experience in the mining, industrial and agricultural sectors, she is skilled and passionate in leading and delivering positive multidisciplinary environmental, financial and social inputs to complex and large-scale capital, research and development projects – and up to to full-scale commercialisation. 

Her latest portfolio is focused on the new development of local green technology for the mining and agricultural markets to promote green economic activity and investment in South Africa.



Dr Chomba Chuma is a medical doctor and entrepreneur who has been involved in pharmaceutical, manufacturing and industrialisation projects for the past 20 years. 

He started his career as a medical advisor at Roche, overseeing the virology and oncology portfolio in Sub-Saharan Africa, and later as Regional Country Manager for southern African countries. He later moved to Sanofi Aventis, South Africa, to manage its largest specialist brand as a National Sales Manager. 

After leaving the corporate environment, he founded Lighthouse Healthcare, which later formed a joint venture to launch Vitabiotics South Africa, a subsidiary of Vitabiotics United Kingdom (UK). Lighthouse Healthcare progressed to develop the Velobiotics brand of probiotics through a commercialisation agreement with the CSIR. The specialised probiotics delivery technology is patented globally with Velobiotics, taking exclusive licenses for the United States of America, UK, Japan and Australia. 

Chuma is passionate about developing sustainable African businesses that address the chronic unemployment dilemma. He has been featured in numerous presentations and panel discussions in South Africa and overseas.

Deepak Govindaraj


Developing precision medicines: Drug combinations to overcome drug resistance

Dr Govindaraj is the Centre Manager of the CSIR Synthetic Biology Centre. He is a chemical engineer by training and has worked in nanobiotechnology, industrial synthetic biology and drug screening for precision medicine. During his PhD at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, Govindaraj worked on nanobiotechnology methods for cell surface proteomics.

The work resulted in a patent and a paper in the high-impact publication: Molecular Systems Biology. He then joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory for a Marie Curie postdoc, during which time he designed a synthetic baculovirus genome for recombinant protein expression. The work was patented and sold in the market as a product by Geneva Biotech, Switzerland. During his time as a senior scientist at Oslo University Hospital in Norway, Govindaraj established the drug sensitivity screening platform for blood cancer. As Centre Manager at the CSIR, Govindaraj has secured funding from the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Early Career Grant, the National Research Fund Competitive Grant and the South African Medical Research Council Self-initiated Grant to establish synthetic biology and precision medicine programmes.

He has published 33 research papers (including publications in Leukaemia, Blood, Molecular Systems Biology, Nanoconvergence and Molecular Oncology), as well as 25 conference proceedings and book chapters. His work has resulted in the granting of three patents.

Gerhard Greeff


Digital transformation and 4IR technologies and their contribution towards the re-industrialisation of SA’s manufacturing industries

Gerhard Greeff is a chemical engineer by training and has 10 years of experience in the production of pharmaceuticals. Greeff has a passion for manufacturing execution systems (MES) and manufacturing operations management (MOM) systems. Over the past 25 years, he has built a reputation in this field and published various articles about MES and MOM systems in trade publications, a book titled “Practical e-manufacturing and supply chain management”, as well as various white papers and guidebooks. He is also one of a few people, globally, certified to teach about MES and MOM.

A MOM system is often the first step in the digital transformation or fourth industrial revolution journey for many manufacturing facilities, especially in the small and medium-sized enterprise market sector in South Africa. Greeff has seen how a well-designed and implemented MOM system can add tremendous business value to any manufacturer. MOM, when done correctly, improves operational effectiveness and efficiency, and assists in increased business value for companies, from discreet manufacturing to continuous processing.

Jayita Bandyopadhyay


Keeping oxygen out and freshness in: Bag-in-box films

Dr Jayita Bandyopadhyay received her PhD in chemical engineering from Université Laval, Quebec, Canada. She is a CSIR Senior Researcher responsible for polymer nanocomposites research and development at the Department of Science and Innovation-CSIR Centre for Nanostructures and Advanced Materials. She is an associate professor at Université Laval and serves as a guest editor for the journal Polymers.

Her research work focuses on developing polymer blends and nanocomposite materials for high-end industrial applications. Over the years, she has gained expertise in material characterisation, including small angle X-ray scattering.

Lerato Tshabalala


Laser-based engineering services for the repair and maintenance of high-value plant components

Dr Lerato Tshabalala joined the CSIR in 2016 as a Senior Engineer and, in 2017, became Technical Lead on the Aeroswift flagship project, as well as Research Group Leader for the laser-enabled manufacturing group of the CSIR Photonics Centre.

She holds a DTech in engineering metallurgy from Tshwane University of Technology. Her research interests are in materials processing and product development.

Lizwe Wandile Mdakane


Spaceborne synthetic aperture radar for operational monitoring of Southern Africa oceans: Oils slick and vessel tracking

Dr Lizwe Wandile Mdakane was born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He has multidisciplinary qualifications in science, including a BSc in computational physics and Honours in applied physics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), as well as an MSc in computer science from UKZN and a PhD in electronics from the University of Pretoria.

His research interests are in the development of spatial information systems, artificial intelligence, image processing, data science and machine learning, particularly computer vision. Mdakane is a CSIR Senior Researcher focusing on improved understanding, management and monitoring of maritime activities. His notable projects include the National Oceans and Coast Information System and Africa Marine and Coastal Operations for Southern Africa (MarCOSouth), funded by the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme.

His current projects include Phase 2 of MarCOSouth, which consolidates and extends collaboration, implementation and services regionally into the Western Indian Ocean.

PROF. Grant D. Stentiford

The Blue Economy: Unlocking technologies for efficient and sustainable aquaculture production

Prof. Stentiford is the Animal and Human Health Theme* Lead at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Head of the OIE Collaborating Centre for Emerging Aquatic Animal Diseases and co-Director of the Sustainable Aquaculture Futures Centre at the University of Exeter, United Kingdom (UK). He was Director of the European Union Reference Laboratory for Crustacean Diseases on behalf of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumers of the European Commission between 2008 and 2018 and Science Lead for Aquatic Animal Health at Cefas from 2016 to 2019. He has a BSc (first class) in life sciences from the University of Nottingham, UK (1993 – 1997) and a PhD in invertebrate pathology from the University of Glasgow (1997 – 2000). 

He is a pathologist and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Pathology in 2014, and a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 2016. His core work focuses on the identification and impact of aquatic animal diseases in farmed and wild environments, but has more recently led the development of the One Health Aquaculture and All Hazards concepts within Cefas, building these in UK and overseas programme work.

* The Animal and Human Health Theme contains two International Centres of Excellence in Aquatic Animal Health and in Seafood Safety, and three international designations – two Food and Agriculture Organization Reference Centres for Bivalve Mollusc Sanitation and Antimicrobial Resistance, and an OIE Collaborating Centre for Emerging Aquatic Animal Diseases. The Centres collectively underpin work programmes in the UK and overseas in the space of One Health Aquaculture. 


The potential of blockchain in the manufacturing industry

Merryl Ford is a digital transformation specialist at the CSIR’s Centre for Robotics and Future Production.

Ford’s passion lies in the application of advanced and innovative information and communication technologies (ICTs) that will lead to socioeconomic development in South Africa and Africa. Over the past few years, she has led various multi-disciplinary ICT interventions, particularly in the education and skills-development environments. She has published widely on these issues and presented at many conferences and forums around the world.

Ford’s current interest is in the use of emerging technologies, such as distributed ledger technologies (blockchain), big data, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, combined with promising new business models in stimulating and supporting technology innovation in Africa.

After writing a white paper for the CSIR on blockchain and its potential in 2018, she was asked by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) to develop a blockchain strategy for the country, focusing on research and innovation. Her proposal, which was to take an ecosystem approach and create the South African National Blockchain Alliance (SANBA), was accepted by the DSI, and SANBA was launched in April 2020. SANBA is a multi-stakeholder approach, which includes the government, private sector, start-ups, civil society and academia, to catalyse the use of blockchain technologies in the country.

Prof. Sechaba Bareetseng

The contribution of indigenous knowledge systems in boosting primary production

Bareetseng holds a PhD in microbiology and a Master of Management in innovation studies, as well as several certificates, such as in advanced intellectual property management, bioentrepreneurship and science leadership. He is managing a portfolio of projects and programmes on indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) research, development and commercialisation that are funded by national government (through its science, technology and innovation agencies) and international organisations, such as the United Nations Development Programme.

Bareetseng is an affiliated associate professor at the University of the Free State (microbiology and biochemistry) and an extraordinary senior lecturer at North-West University. He co-supervises PhD and Masters’ students at these universities, as well as at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is also mentoring CSIR candidate researchers on IKS and community engagements and Honours students from the University of Venda. Bareetseng has contributed several research publications in journals of repute in the fields of microbiology and IKS.

Dr Isak Gerber

An ongoing partnership in microsphere technology: The Resyn Biosciences/CSIR collaboration

Dr Isak B Gerber is a CSIR Principal Researcher with a Doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Johannesburg. He has extensive experience in protein biochemistry, including method and assay development, biopharmaceutical protein production, purification and quality control, as well as in translating life sciences research into commercial products. He is a co-inventor on 10 international patents, author of 10 international peer-reviewed scientific publications, and has eight full process technology packages and nine technology demonstrators to his name. For the past 10 years, Gerber has been an integral member of the team that developed and patented a novel, next-generation microsphere technology platform (ReSyn) at the CSIR. The cross-cutting technology is now well established in the international bio-separation and omics areas, with over 200 peer-reviewed publications, validated methods and application notes with highly reputable international academic institutions and companies, and is being integrated into diagnostic and industrial processes. The patented technology is currently commercialised (15 products) by a CSIR spin-out enterprise, ReSyn Biosciences (Pty) Ltd (www.resynbio.com).

Dr Patience Mthunzi-Kufa

Biophotonics research for the development and design of novel healthcare solutions

Bestowed with the Order of Mapungubwe in Bronze for her national and international contribution to the biochemistry and biophotonics fields, award-winning Dr Patience Mthunzi-Kufa is the Head and Research Group Leader of biophotonics at the CSIR. She holds a PhD in physics (photonics) from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom. Her research interests include the development of photonics-based point-of-care diagnostic devices and biosensors for communicable and non-communicable diseases, machine learning for point-of-care diagnostics, as well as the design of screening devices for substandard medication.

Dr Kirsten Barnes


Dr Kirsten Barnes is an expert circular economy analyst at GreenCape, a non-governmental organisation that facilitates growth in a green and circular economy in South Africa.

Barnes and her team lead the South African (SA) Plastics Pact, currently the largest circular economy initiative with specific time-bound targets in South Africa 

The GreenCape team facilitates action on these ambitious circular economy targets with industry and supporting organisations across the plastics value chain.

The SA Plastics Pact is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact network. 

Barnes has a PhD in biogeochemistry of wetland systems. This passion for material/chemical flows led her to the circular economy and maximising value from a material, economic and social perspective

Eric Dube

A web-based collaboration platform for information management (CMORE)

Erick Dube holds an MSc in computer science from the National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe. His area of expertise is the development of decision support systems that cut across several disciplines, applying discrete event simulation. He has vast experience in software systems design, using both object-oriented design and structured systems analysis and design methodologies. Prior to his current role, he was the Competency Area Manager of Information Security, where he was instrumental in the development of the information security offering at the CSIR. His current role entails bringing together technologies and capabilities that work best in an integrated fashion by spearheading the development of collaboration platforms, providing integrated capability management and decision support systems through a rigorous systems engineering approach.

Dr Veshara Ramdas

The use of bio-based coatings for post-harvest pathogen control and prolonged shelf life

Dr Veshara Ramdas is a CSIR Senior Researcher. She obtained her PhD in microbiology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2021. Ramdas was one of the young talents recognised in the postdoctoral category of the L’Oréal-UNESCO International Awards for Women in Science for her work on a bio-based road stabiliser product as an alternative to soil binders such as cement, lime or bitumen for road construction in rural areas. Conducted together with her team, her research and development efforts, to date, have resulted in the establishment of a bio-additives research focal area centred on the development of high-value products for industry. At the CSIR, she has been involved in numerous industrial biotechnology-based research and development projects, several of which were focused on microbial production technologies, which have culminated in several technical outputs and technology demonstrators. She is the author of and contributor to several peer-reviewed papers in the fields of applied microbiology, bioprocessing and nanotechnology.

John Isaac

Early-warning device for underground roof collapses in coal mines

Sherrin John Isaac Pr Eng has an MEng (Electrical) from the University of Zambia and an MBA from the University of Pretoria. He joined the CSIR in 1998 and has performed a variety of roles, including development engineer, information and communications technology researcher in an idea incubator, research and development funding manager, human capital development manager and, currently, Research Group Leader: Advanced Internet of Things.

His focus is on developing a passionate, competent and large CSIR team that works in the field of Advanced Internet of Things to address national problems through Advanced Internet of Things products and services. The team’s research and development work is performed in the full suite of industrial internet of things projects, from the edge to the cloud; from operations technology in harsh environments to information technology in platform systems. The core internet of things expertise of the group is embedded electronics product development, edge intelligence, firmware, software, middleware, networks, and internet of things operations and management.

His research interests lie in developing innovative internet of things solutions and products to create meaningful change in the lives of ordinary people. Specific interests lie in real-time information management systems for underground mining, smart transactive microgrids, electronic monitoring and product/service development and commercialisation.

Fleckson Magweregwede

A customised trackless mobile machine digital twin

Fleckson has more than 15 years of working experience in the mining industry. He holds a Master of Science in mining engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand and a BSc (Hons) in mining engineering from the University of Zimbabwe. Fleckson, a CSIR Senior Mining Engineer, has extensive experience across the sector, covering mine production management, mining studies, mining-related research, feasibility studies, business improvement, research management, project management and mine occupational health and safety (OHS) and environmental management. He joined the CSIR in 2018 and has been involved in mining performance improvement, OHS and its link with culture transformation/management and risk management, change management (including technology adoption), impact assessments, progressive modernisation in mining, technology road mapping, skills road mapping, techno-economic assessments, socioeconomic assessments and mining sustainability.

Prof. Philiswa Nosizo Nomngongo

Advancement in environmental analytical chemistry through nanotechnology: past, present and future prospects

Prof. Philiswa Nosizo Nomngongo is Professor of Environmental Analytical Chemistry at the University of Johannesburg. She holds a research chair in nanotechnology for water from the DSI-NRF South African Research Chairs Initiative and has an NRF Y1 rating. Her scientific career has been dedicated to solving different environmental problems in the field of water quality and environmental protection. 

Nomngongo is the author/co-author of more than 130 peer-reviewed publications and has presented more than 50 keynote addresses and contributions at scientific conferences. 

Her research achievements have been recognised through prestigious fellowships and awards, such as the 2014 L’Oreal-UNESCO Sub-Saharan Women in Science Regional Fellowship; 2017 South African Women in Science Award in the Distinguished Young Woman: Research in the Natural and Engineering Sciences category; and 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Award: Most Promising Young Researcher of the Year and 2020/2021 NSTF-South23 Award (Category: Emerging Researcher and Engineering Research Capacity Development). She has supervised/co-supervised 35 MSc and 15 PhD students and is currently supervising several postgraduate students.

Dr Zamani Cele

Synthetic chemistry for the chemical modification of polyfunctional biopolymers as antimicrobial nanomaterials

Zamani Cele is a CSIR Senior Researcher. He holds a PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. During his PhD studies, he worked in the field of asymmetric organocatalysis, which is an environmentally friendly way of accelerating and controlling chemical reactions to create specific types of molecules. Since joining the CSIR in 2017, he has grown his expertise in nanotechnology as applied to health and material sciences. This research field involves the use of nanoparticles and nanomaterials to improve the behaviour of drug substances. Today, nanomedicines are used globally to improve the treatments and lives of patients who suffer from a range of disorders, including cancer, kidney disease, fungal infections and bacterial infections. He has served as a formal co-supervisor or mentor to junior team members pursuing postgraduate degrees in chemistry, chemical engineering and pharmacology.

Dr Katekani Shingange

Nanosensors for food safety applications

Shingange holds a BSc and BSc Honours from the University of Limpopo, an MSc (Physics), cum laude, and a PhD (Physics) from the University of the Free State. She is a CSIR Postdoctoral Researcher, focusing on the development of gas sensors for the selective and sensitive detection of gas molecule biomarkers for application in food safety, environmental monitoring and disease diagnosis. These types of sensors are relevant in the current fourth industrial revolution as they are targeted to form part of a mobile device design to obtain easy and immediate monitoring and safety. 

Shingange has made an impact in her field of study by contributing a body of knowledge, having published more than 10 peer-reviewed publications, with over 450 citations and an h-index of 11, according to Google Scholar. Shingange engages in science communication workshops, mentors high school learners, and supervises/co-supervises and mentors students and junior researchers in her field. She finds pleasure in transferring knowledge and skills. 

Her impact was recognised through a national award from the Department of Science and Innovation, namely, the South African Women in Science Award in 2019, for her contribution in the field of physics. Furthermore, she was awarded the CSIR Best Doctoral Studentship Award in 2020 for excellence in her PhD studies, and she was recently named Inspirational Woman in STEM by the #InspiringFiftySA 2021 for being an inspiring role model to young girls and women in STEM

DR Essa Suleman

New technology to detect viral diseases affecting the aquaculture industry

Dr Essa Suleman is a CSIR Principal Researcher and Research Group Leader for Veterinary Molecular Diagnostics and Vaccines. He holds an undergraduate degree in microbiology and biotechnology from the University of Cape Town and a PhD in microbiology from Nelson Mandela University. 

Prior to joining the CSIR, his research focused on molecular disease epidemiology of important veterinary and zoonotic diseases in wildlife. His current research focuses on developing a lab-on-chip point-of-care molecular diagnostics platform, which combines microfluidics, isothermal amplification and mobile fourth industrial revolution technologies to enable point-of-care diagnostics for diseases affecting human, animal and environmental health. 

His research also focuses on novel diagnostic technologies for Covid-19 and conventional and point-of-care diagnostics for viruses (infectious spleen and kidney necrosis virus, as well as the tilapia lake virus) that pose a major threat to the global aquaculture industry. 

He also established the CSIR’s Covid-19 diagnostic testing facility and is driving the veterinary vaccines programme, including the development of plant-produced and messenger ribonucleic acid vaccine technologies for veterinary and zoonotic diseases.

Nathi Mbele

Television White Space Impact on AdNotes Network in South Africa

Nathi Mbele is the Chief Executive Officer of AdNotes, a fully Independent Communications Authority of South Africa licensed telecommunications company that specialises in providing broadband internet services to mass-market consumers in South Africa. An investment banker turned telecommunication entrepreneur is now a highly knowledgeable, skilled and dedicated solutions architect who specialises in network deployment, as well as managing telecommunications infrastructure, with a solid track record of business management. 

He has expertise garnered through a bottom-up approach from comprehensive network design, planning and implementation of strategic telecommunications projects that provide operational excellence. He has facilitated multiple telecommunications investments, while ensuring compliance with the country’s telecommunications regulatory requirements. He is proficient in all aspects of governance with over seven years’ experience within state-owned agencies in South Africa.

Andy Radford

A natural fibre hub for hemp fibre cultivation and processing research and development at Coega

Andy Radford has a Master’s degree in industrial administration from the University of Cape Town and more than  20 years’ general management experience in various industries. 

During his time as the Director of the Biocomposites Centre of Competence at the CSIR, he co-founded the Mandela Bay Composites Cluster in 2016 to bridge the gap between industry, academia and government. Research outputs include various advanced materials and manufacturing proposals, articles and papers, including the “Bio-Based Chemicals Landscape Feasibility Study of South Africa”, which he co-authored for the Department of Science and Innovation. Working with the CSIR and the Coega Development Corporation, he is managing the establishment of the Natural Fibre Hub at the Coega Special Economic Zone. The hub,provides the agroprocessing capability that links the farmer to the factory in the sunrise natural fibre industry, which includes hemp. 

Radford is the Managing Director of The Composites Group, consults on the  UK Research and Innovation’s One Ocean Hub, and lectures at the Nelson Mandela University Business School. He conceptualised and co-hosts the prestigious annual African Advanced Manufacturing and Composites Show, which was held in Gqeberha in 2018 and 2019 and, after a Covid-19 break, will be held again shortly.

DR Laticha Walters

Scaling up primary healthcare telehealth innovations in trusted cyberspace: Enhancing healthcare access through effective and efficient referral pathways.

Dr Laticha E.M. Walters has a PhD in telehealth from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a Master of Business Leadership (Project Management and Management of Technology) from the UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership. She is a Certified Information Systems Auditor and serves and leads on local and international digital health governance forums – she is the vice-chair for a non-profit organisation board and an alternate co-chair on the Health Data Collaborative for Research, Academia and Technical Networks. Her research interests are in scaling-up virtual or telehealth and digital health information system innovations to sustainably meet the needs of the people and stakeholders at their nearest point of care in South Africa, the rest of Africa and where needed. 

Prof. Darren Riley


Prof. Darren Riley studied chemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand under Professors Jo Michael and Charles de Koning, where his doctoral research focused on the synthesis of plant and amphibian alkaloids. Thereafter, he was employed as a postdoctoral research fellow under Professor Helder Marques, during which time his research involved the synthesis of macrocyclic ring systems in the form of porphyrins for use as biomarkers.

In 2010, he was appointed full time as a principal scientist at iThemba Pharmaceuticals, a South African drug discovery institute that focused on neglected and African diseases. While at iThemba, Riley was involved in drug discovery programmes, targeting neglected diseases of Africa, in which he did hit-to-lead development of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). He was involved in programmes targeting novel tuberculosis (TB) drugs in the class of nitroimidazoles, as well as APIs for the treatment of the tropical diseases of leishmaniasis, Human African trypanosomiasis and Chagas disease. During his tenure at iThemba, Riley was also seconded to the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom, where he undertook process development, targeting frontline HIV/Aids drugs, using flow chemistry under the supervision of Professor Steven Ley. 

He moved to the University of Pretoria in 2013 in the capacity of a senior lecturer and established a drug discovery and flow chemistry research group, which focused on the use of flow chemistry as a tool to develop improved process routes to pharmaceuticals and expedite drug discovery. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2019 and his current research drivers include the development of flow and batch-flow hybrid processes for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, reaction engineering and reactor design, rapid prototyping through additive manufacturing, and the integration of advanced optimisation and automation technologies. He has been the recipient of the prestigious high-end infrastructure (Department of Science and Innovation) and National Equipment Programme grants (National Research Foundation) and has been awarded the University of Pretoria’s prestigious Innovation in Education Award.

André le Roux

From wildlife surveillance to critical infrastructure protection: A world-class situation awareness system

André le Roux is the Radar Business Development Manager. He has managed the radar group at the CSIR since 2010. André has worked as a radar systems modeller and systems engineer since 1995. He has led numerous CSIR teams working with industry on joint programmes to develop products, as well as make an impact in user communities. He was the system engineer on the CSIR’s portion of the development of the RSR940 installed on the SAN Frigates. He led the conceptualisation phase of the Meerkat Wide Area Surveillance System, which is successfully deployed at the Kruger National Park to counter rhino poaching. Andre proved knowledgable during the 10-year Gripen radar acquisition from Sweden. He is the CSIR Programme Manager for the development of the Quadome radar with Hensoldt.

Dr Shingirirai Savious Mutanga

Reflections for Africa's Conference of the Parties

Dr Shingirirai Savious Mutanga is a CSIR Research Group Leader in climate services. He holds a PhD in industrial systems engineering from the University of Pretoria, an MSc in geo-information science and Earth observation for environmental modelling and management, obtained from a consortium of four universities, namely, the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, Lund University in Sweden, the University of Warsaw in Poland and the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation in the Netherlands. He has worked in government, the private sector, academia, research think tanks and consultancies. He has served on the Special T20 Africa Standing Group for the G20, the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa emerging economies and the Southern African Steering Committee for Future Earth sub-regional investment forum, and is a member of the Southern African Vulnerability Assessment Committee. He has published extensively in both national and internationally accredited journals, policy analysis reports, books, and conference proceedings. Some of his publications include the books ‘Africa in a changing global environment’, ‘Management and Mitigation of Acid Mine Drainage in South Africa: Input for mineral Beneficiation in Africa’ and ‘Africa at Crossroads’. His research interests include modelling a wide range of global environmental issues, in particular climate change, energy, water and food security. He is a senior research associate with the Universities of Johannesburg and the Free State, as well as the University of South Africa, where he is supervising Masters’ and Doctoral students. Some of the current projects that he is leading as a Principal Investigator include the National Survey on Food Security and Nutrition Security Survey for South Africa, Water Energy Food Nexus in South Africa and Climate Change.

Charl Harding

Harnessing research, development and innovation for the environmental, social and governance landscape in mining.

Charl Harding manages the Impact Catalyst, on secondment from the CSIR. He joined the CSIR in 2008 as a systems engineer and demonstrated a knack for leading multidisciplinary and cross-functional teams in the conceptualisation, development and delivery of technology and business innovations. He soon led cross-functional strategies and solutions across sectors and geographical markets for the CSIR and large partners in areas such as transportation, engineering and mining. He is a foresight expert, well versed in organisational design and sector analysis.

The Impact Catalyst is a multi-partner private-public collaboration with the objective of driving large-scale, socioeconomic development initiatives across sectors and provinces. Harding was instrumental in the establishment of the Impact Catalyst until it was officially launched by Anglo American, the CSIR, Exxaro, World Vision South Africa and Zutari in 2019. Lead programmes of the Impact Catalyst are implemented in areas such as agriculture and agro-processing, manufacturing, education and community health – areas where technologies and innovation can be used to optimise economic activity and see to inclusivity in supply chains, bringing jobs and new skills.

Harding has an MPhil (Future Studies) from the Stellenbosch Business School and an MSc (Engineering Management) from the University of Pretoria.

Sietse van der Woude


Sietse van der Woude is a Senior Executive: Modernisation and Safety at the Minerals Council South Africa, formerly known as the Chamber of Mines. His purpose is to primarily help facilitate a people-centric modernisation of the mining industry.

Van der Woude holds an MSc (Radiation Physics) and a Master’s in business administration, where he focused on integrating sustainability issues into the strategy of businesses. He has held positions in various institutions such as the National Nuclear Regulator, where he was responsible for the establishment of a regulatory framework for radiation protection in mining. Van der Woude also held a managerial position at Xstrata and was responsible for safety, health, environment and quality.

In 2004, he was appointed as the Head of Safety and Sustainable Development in the Minerals Council South Africa where he enjoyed being part of the mining industry’s safety and health enhancement initiatives.

Peter Brierley

A bilevel positive airway pressure non-invasive ventilator.

Peter Brierley is the General Manager of Akacia Medical (Pty) Ltd, a company that was a CSIR partner in the development of ventilator systems in 2020. Starting his career as an officer in the navy, Brierly joined Unilever as an engineer in 1980 and later moved to Adcock Ingram Laboratories (part of Tiger Brands), first as a Project Manager and eventually as a Logistics Executive. As the Manufacturing Executive at the confectionary division, he was closely involved in manufacturing and engineering operations.

After 12 years at Tiger Brands, Brierley started a consultancy business, running a varied portfolio of projects ranging from construction and logistics to sales optimisation and information technology.

Owning and running several companies, Brierley developed a focus on profit improvement and business turnaround, mainly in consumer goods and contract manufacturing. He has a penchant for finding the pain points for where interventions will have the most results and impact quickly, and then proceeding to systems and longer-term continual improvement.

Brierley is a firm supporter of local product and process development and localisation of manufacturing as fundamental drivers of employment.

Safiya Turundu

A customised trackless mobile machinery collision prevention system digital twin

Safiya Turundu is a software developer at the CSIR. She holds a BSc Hons (Computer Science) (cum laude) and an MSc (Machine Learning) (cum laude) with a focus on firearm detection from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). During her academic pursuits, she spent two years teaching applied mathematics at the Academy of Sound Engineering and spent another two years as a computer network lecturer at Wits. She has worked for organisations like Dimension Data as an Azure Engineer and gained experience in development operations and cloud infrastructure development. Turundu’s research interests are in machine learning, computer vision and technology development in the mining industry.

Prof. Luzango Mfupe

Recap: CSIR spectrum innovation research, development and innovation into television white space technologies

Prof. Luzango Pangani Mfupe is a CSIR Principal Researcher and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He obtained his Bachelors, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the Tshwane University of Technology. He is an innovator and entrepreneur with demonstrated leadership in local and international large and cutting-edge technology projects. He is technically skilled in dynamic spectrum management and is experienced in television white space deployments, defence and civilian spectrum-sharing models, formulation of spectrum regulations and policies, development of geo-location spectrum databases, advanced wireless networks design and modelling, satellite communications, airborne wireless networks, artificial intelligence/machine learning for heterogeneous future wireless communications – such as 5G and beyond – as well as computer simulations. He lectures and supervises postgraduate students and supports information and communications technology-based small, medium and micro enterprises.

Mfupe holds international patents in wireless network technologies in several countries, and has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and conference papers, and edited conference proceedings. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Tanzania, and Vice Chair of IEEE DySPAN 1900.6b WG. He was Co-General Chair and Organising Committee Chair of the IEEE AFRICON 2021 Conference, Arusha, Tanzania, and is the Co-General Chair of the ICT4DA Conference 2022, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.

Dr Thandeka Ellenson

Rural digital businesses in the fifth industrial revolution era

Dr Thandeka Ellenson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Moses Kotane Institute. She wakes up excited every day to have another opportunity to drive change through research and innovation. Among her qualifications, she holds a doctorate in business administration from Columbia Southern University in the United States of America. She wears many hats, including that of business accountant, chartered secretary, businessperson, and innovator. Notably, she is a board member of the KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Radio Astronomy, Economic Advancement, Technology and Entrepreneurship, an entity that focuses on big data innovations and dissemination of these innovations to industry. She led the development of the provincial digital transformation strategy and an innovation strategy. She championed the implementation of fourth industrial revolution activities and currently leads the provincial transition to the fifth industrial revolution in KwaZulu-Natal.

DR June Fabian


Dr June Fabian is a specialist physician and nephrologist and is the Director of Clinical Research at the Wits University Donald Gordon Medical Centre. Her PhD investigated the epidemiology of kidney disease in rural South Africa. She is passionate about supporting multi- and interdisciplinary research collaborations to enable research excellence in South Africa and regionally.

She is the co-founder of the African Liver Tissue Biorepository (ALT-Bio) Collaboration, which includes the Transplant Unit at the Wits University Donald Gordon Medical Centre, the CSIR and the Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

While African populations have the greatest diversity known to humankind, the paucity of genomic research continues to impact our understanding of susceptibility to disease and drug response, preventing the development of effective vaccines and therapeutic treatments. Our primary focus with ALT-Bio is to create the first liver tissue biorepository in Southern Africa and to lead pharmacogenomic and therapeutic drug development research. 

Moshibudi Mokgashi


Moshibudi Mokgashi is a Mining Engineer with experience in underground and surface coal mining. Her background in operations management and execution led her into a seamless transition into mining technical services and project management. Her keen interest in mining digitalisation and automation led to her being appointed as a Digital Value Chain Lead and joining a group of other engineers headlining the Exxaro Group Digital journey and collaborating with various vendors to deliver solutions that improve productivity and safety, with the common goal of being industry leaders in innovation.

She is currently a Manager in Mining Development where she leads a team of engineers responsible for mine design and mining process improvement through digitalisation and automation, as well as project management at the 30Mt coal-producing giant Grootegeluk Coal Mine. Mokgashi holds a BSc in mining engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand, a Master of Management in finance and investments from Wits Business School and leadership qualifications, namely, the Management Development Programme (University of Pretoria) and Leadership In the Connected Economy (North-West University).

Prof. Rinie Schenck


Prof. Rinie Schenck is a National Research Foundation-rated researcher and, since 2018, the Department of Science and Innovation/National Research Foundation/CSIR Chair in Waste and Society at the University of the Western Cape. 

Khangwelo Muronga


Khangwelo Muronga is a CSIR Senior Technologist for transport systems and operations. He has over 18 years’ experience in information technology project management, application development, information technology/information system implementation and management and advanced technology development. He has led the development of technological tools to assist various public transport operations and activities, including learner transport. Examples of technologies that have been developed under his leadership are weighbridge systems that operate in traffic control sites in South Africa, Mozambique and other Southern African Development Community countries, as well as systems to collect public transport passenger movements.

Dr Rebecca Maserumule


Dr Rebecca Maserumule is the Acting Deputy Director-General: Technology Innovation at the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The Technology Innovation Programme promotes technology development and valorisation of intellectual property emerging from the National System of Innovation. The programme also promotes awareness and best practice in intellectual property for innovation with a socioeconomic impact.

Maserumule is also Chief Director: Hydrogen and Energy at the DSI. Her responsibilities include the implementation of the National Energy Science Technology and Innovation Plan, which includes the DSI energy flagship programmes Hydrogen South Africa, the Energy Storage RDI Programme, the Renewable Energy Hubs and Spokes and the Coal CO2-X RDI Programme. The goal of the Energy Science Technology and Innovation Plan is to support South Africa towards just and inclusive net-zero carbon economic growth for societal wellbeing by 2050. The implementation of key policies, in partnership with key stakeholders, such as the Hydrogen Society Roadmap, which was launched in February 2022, is core to her duties.

Maserumule holds a PhD in mathematics with a focus on computational fluid dynamics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, United States of America. Before joining the DSI, she worked for the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy as an Industrial Energy Efficiency Specialist and a Demand Modelling Specialist, supporting the development of policies such as the Integrated Energy Plan and the National Energy Efficiency Strategy. Her early working career was spent as a senior researcher at the CSIR, focusing on using models to analyse the impact of climate change on water resources. 

Herschel Michael Maasdorp


Herschel Maasdorp is the Group Executive: Business Development for Labat Africa and Director at Biodata (Pty) Ltd. Labat Africa is a company that is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Germany. He is an entrepreneur with a degree from the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences at the University of the Western Cape and postgraduate qualifications in development economics from the same university. He also has qualifications in logistics and applied mathematics from universities in Ecuador and Belgium. Maasdorp was internationally recognised as the 2021 Africa and Middle East Cannabis Entrepreneur of the Year.

His varied track record includes managing collaboration projects with provincial and national governments, conducting and publishing quality management and ISO studies, undertaking marketing and feasibility studies for the Dutch organisation EVD and conducting business study tours to multiple countries abroad in various capacities in both the public and private sectors. He served as the Deputy Director of Economic Affairs in the Western Cape government at the age of 22. He also served on the small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) Development Advisory Committee of the George Soros Open Society Foundation of South Africa, as well as Chairman of the Nelson Mandela Presidential Jobs Summit, Chairman of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the National Committee for the Assessment of Reforms of Public Procurement to the SMME sector in South Africa and Managing Director of STC-Sub-Sahara.

Abdul Baba


Abdul Baba is a highly recognised and qualified information technology (IT) practitioner and trusted advisor.  He is currently the Chief Technology and Information Officer for Infrastructure South Africa within the Presidency, as well as a non-executive director for Computer Aid International South Africa. Baba was recently selected as one of the Global 100 leaders by a United Kingdom publication.

He is currently a member of the Institute of Directors of South Africa, Institute of Chartered IT Professionals Leadership council, as well as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council of South Africa.  His strength lies in setting business and IT strategies, developing large solutions architectures, managing system development and leading cohesive teams for implementation. Abdul chairs and presents at many business IT leadership conferences and is passionate about how technology will transform and enable business value. He is a cybersecurity, governance, and Data Transformation evangelist, who serves on various boards and IT advisory bodies as part of his contribution to influencing South Africa’s fourth industrial revolution goals and aspirations

Baba started his career in the banking industry and worked extensively within systems, application and products business consulting; insurance; logistics transportation; and media and advertising industries, respectively. He also has extensive experience in enterprise IT architecture and has held various technical technology roles in one of the largest banks in Africa. Prior to his current role, Abdul served as the CIO of Skynet, Group IT Director of the TBWA Media group, as well Head of IT within the Econet group of companies. Baba holds a BCom Hons (Informatics), as well as a Master of business leadership and has recently commenced his doctorate studies.



Prof. Paul Race

Tackling antimicrobial resistance through synthetic biology

Prof. Paul Race is a professor of biological chemistry and a former Royal Society University Research Fellow, based within the School of Biochemistry, University of Bristol, in the United Kingdom (UK). His research focuses on the exploitation and manipulation of natural product biosynthetic pathways for the delivery of functionally optimised ‘non-natural’ natural product pharmaceutical leads. He is a founding Director of the Bristol BioDesign Institute and is the Bristol lead for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)-funded UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre in synthetic biology. From 2014 to 2018, he served as Co-Director of the BBSRC/EPSRC-funded Bristol Centre for Synthetic Biology Research. He sits on numerous national and international committees and advisory boards, including as an advisor to the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology (National Engineering Biology Project). In addition to his academic activities, Race is co-founder and non-Executive Director of the spinout company Zentraxa Ltd., which uses computational bio-design and high throughput cellular manufacturing to develop peptide-based biomaterials.

Graham Barbour

Veristic Print: A secure contactless fingerprint identification system

Graham Barbour is a CSIR Principal Researcher with a PhD (Pure Mathematics) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has lectured computer science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the then University of Natal (Durban) and has been programming and hacking since 1982. His research expertise is in security, cryptography, intrusion detection and algebraic logic.

Rachel Manxeba


Rachel Manxeba is a Senior Manager Data Architect and has 15 years of experience in data analytics in the private and public sectors. She holds a post graduate qualification in econometrics from the University of Pretoria and she is currently finalising her data science certification on the statistics analysis system for data science.

While working in local government for the past eight years, she has been contributing to shaping several data programmes, implemented by sector departments and data agencies, that address various problem statements and fit-for-purpose use cases, particularly in the area of access to relevant datasets for better decision making and strategic planning purposes.

She is passionate about delivering a sector-wide data programme, offering predictive capabilities and scenario-based analytics supported by automated dashboards and data management platforms to improve data-driven reporting and decision-making processes in line with the South African Local Government Association’s new Strategic and Digital Framework.

Jaco Botha

Lessons learned on collaborative development and product development in the defence industry: The HENSOLDT-CSIR Quadome radar development

Jaco Botha is a radar specialist and Programme Manager at Hensoldt Republic of South Africa. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the University of Pretoria in 1996. He completed a Master’s degree in electronic engineering from the University of Johannesburg in 2007, specialising in image processing and pattern recognition. He started his career at Denel as an algorithm and software engineer, working on image and signal processing software. He later moved into the development of radar algorithms, which included the modelling and simulation of radar systems and tracking algorithms like Kalman filters. He also worked as a development system engineer on the development and integration of a radar seeker system at Denel Dynamics and was later appointed as a programme manager for a large radar missile development programme. Furthermore, he acted as a facility manager for a radar and image processing department. In 2019, he was appointed as a radar specialist at Hensoldt South Africa and later as Programme Manager for a new surveillance radar product, where he grows and builds the radar capability of Hensoldt South Africa.

Talk shop @ The Exhibition Hall

Making the most of nature’s catalysts for South African industry

In this session, researchers from South Africa’s first Industrial Biocatalysis Hub (IBH), hosted at the CSIR, will brief the media on the progress made in driving the uptake of biocatalysis, an environmentally friendly and cost-effective technology that South Africa’s biomanufacturing industry can leverage to reduce its carbon footprint.

The briefing will gather top biocatalysis experts and industry beneficiaries to showcase how local enterprises are leveraging this green chemistry-based technology to produce unique, high-value products for cosmetic, biopharmaceutical and industrial biologics markets, to name a few.

A postdoctoral researcher and a BSc Honours intern, who are being mentored and trained through the programme, will also share their experience of the mentoring and training they received through the IBH’s skills development programme.

Biocatalysis is a technology that has swooped into the global biomanufacturing market as the world continues to grapple with climate change. Unlike conventional manufacturing methods, biocatalysis uses enzymes and microorganisms to develop environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and products.

The hub, which was commissioned and is being funded by the Department of Science and Innovation alongside the Technology Innovation Agency, provides technical product and process support to enterprises in the biomanufacturing sector. Since its inception, the hub has opened its doors to three enterprises and made its well-equipped facility and expertise accessible to support the enterprises in the research and development of technologies for product manufacturing.

Dr Martin Kaggwa


Dr Martin Kaggwa is the Executive Research Director of the Sam Tambani Research Institute (SATRI), a research institute of the National Union of Mineworkers and the Mineworkers Investment Trust in South Africa. SATRI focuses on undertaking multidisciplinary research that has a bearing on the well-being of workers and workers’ communities. He has more than 20 years of applied research practice and academic teaching at university level in the interdisciplinary area of economics and technology. His current research focus is on extractives, energy and socioeconomic development dynamics of countries and communities that are rich in natural resources.

Theo Pretorius


Theo Pretorius is Vice President: Technology and Engineering at Sasol. He is accountable for technology and engineering at Sasol ecoFT, a new business unit that was established in 2021 to drive the creation of new sustainable aviation fuel and chemicals value streams, primarily leveraging Sasol’s proprietary Fischer-Tropsch technology.

His career at Sasol spans over 28 years, during which he has gained broad South African and global experience in engineering, project development and implementation, commissioning and start-up, directing Sasol’s technology strategies, building technology and engineering partnerships, as well as leading Sasol’s technology licensing business. Theo has led the incubation of Sasol ecoFT, setting the overall strategy, engaging the market and initiating early business developments. He holds a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pretoria.

DR Cosmas Chiteme


Dr Cosmas Chiteme holds a Doctorate in experimental condensed matter physics from the University of the Witwatersrand and has more than 15 years’ experience in the field of materials fabrication and characterisation. In his current post as Director: Power at the Department of Science and Innovation, Chiteme is responsible for the Hydrogen Infrastructure Centre of Competence, the CoalCO2 to X and Energy Storage Programmes.  His main role is to interact with the public and private sectors in South Africa to develop and strengthen partnerships that are essential in promoting the uptake of emerging low-carbon energy technologies, particularly those that beneficiate mineral resources found in South Africa and neighbouring countries. Chiteme’s current interests are in technology roadmap development, innovation management and technology commercialisation, in collaboration with both national and international partners.

Thomas Roos

CSIR view of the green hydrogen opportunities in South Africa

Thomas Roos is a CSIR Senior Research Engineer. He holds a Master’s in mechanical engineering from Stellenbosch University. His 29-year research career at the CSIR has been predominantly in the fields of thermodynamics, heat transfer, turbomachinery and energy. 

He has been involved in several national research and development (R&D) roadmap processes, including the Energy R&D Strategy for South Africa, the original Hydrogen South Africa Business Plan, the Solar Energy Technology Roadmap and the National Solar Research Facility.

His current interest is the economics of renewable hydrogen production in South Africa and its benefits to the country. He has published and presented on this topic and is involved in several projects developing the evidence base for this. One application of renewable hydrogen is sustainable maritime fuel, an area of growing international interest.

Bongani Buthelezi


Bongani Buthelezi is the Chief Operations Officer in the Mineral Processing Division at Fraser Alexander. Over a period of years, he gained extensive experience in management in the mining sector through working as a general manager at Fraser Alexander and Anglo American.

Buthelezi holds an MSc (Metallurgical Engineering) from the University of Witwatersrand, as well as several qualifications in management. His expertise is primarily in iron ore and heavy minerals within the mining industry. He began his career as a metallurgist with Iscor Mining (now known as ArcelorMittal South Africa) and later held various senior production and technical leadership roles at Anglo American, including that of Head Processing and General Manager at Kolomela mine. Thereafter, he was appointed as Acting General Manager of Sishen mine, the largest iron ore mine in Africa, where he focused on operations, projects and Saldanha rail logistics.

Buthelezi puts safety first and has never had any fatalities under his leadership. He accredits his success to his ability to effectively manage risks through empowerment campaigns and leadership accountability.

Wiehann Olivier


Wiehann Olivier is an Audit Partner and Digital Asset Lead for Mazars South Africa. He is a Registered Auditor with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors and a qualified Chartered Accountant (South Africa). He has been involved in the digital assets industry for over five years, which stemmed from his involvement in various industries, including fintech, financial services, property and private equity funds. 

He has featured in various South African and international publications, television interviews and online webinars for his expertise and thought leadership in the digital asset and cryptocurrency sector.

Olivier has also completed a blockchain and innovation course through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently enrolled for an MSc in blockchain and digital currencies. His experience in the crypto industry includes consulting and assurance engagement services for cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency custodian wallets, over-the-counter and arbitrage platforms, ERC20 fund structures and cryptocurrency bundle investment platforms in The Cayman Islands, Dubai, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Prof. Paul Watts


Prof. Paul Watts graduated from the University of Bristol (United Kingdom) with a first-class BSc (Hons) degree in chemistry (1995), and with a PhD in bio-organic natural product chemistry (1999). Watts subsequently worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Hull, where he pioneered organic synthesis in micro reactors. In February 2002, he was appointed as a lecturer at the University of Hull, being fast-tracked to full professor in August 2011 at the age of just 37.  

In February 2013, Watts moved to the Nelson Mandela University to hold the distinguished position of South African Research Chairs Initiative Research Chair in Microfluidic Bio or Chemical Processing and has a B1 National Research Foundation research rating, recently renewed until 2026.  In total, Watts has published over 130 highly cited papers in peer reviewed journals, in addition to other publications, and in 2011 was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry in recognition of his achievements.  He has an h-index of 35. 

Watts has developed a significant national and international reputation in research, which is acknowledged by the number of invitations received to present at national and international conferences as well as at worldwide organisations. He has given over 200 conference presentations and industry-focused lectures.  In more recent years, he has also been asked to chair numerous conferences and workshops on the technology.  

Tilson Mphathi Manyoni


Tilson Mphathi Manyoni is the Managing Director of Vision Wave (Pty) Ltd, Chairperson of the Tshwane University of Technology, Head of Policy for the Black Business Council and a member of the Board for Indlulamithi South Africa Scenarios 2030.

Manyoni holds two Master’s of Science degrees; one in project management from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, and the other in major programme management from the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. He also holds a Bachelor of Technology in industrial engineering and a Postgraduate Diploma in information technology from the University of Johannesburg.

Over the years, he has served as a member of the BRICS Council Digital Economy working group and as an advisory board member for the South African Innovation Summit. He also participated in the then Department of Trade and Industry Broad-Based Ownership Scheme technical task team.

Manyoni has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He started his career as a process engineer responsible for computer-aided design or manufacturing and factory automation. He then became a senior business analyst, where he provided solution design and technical support for technology business solutions. He advanced his career as an IT project manager as part of the company’s global SAP team responsible for technology implementation.

He started his entrepreneurship journey in 2004. Over the last 15 years, he started three companies in project management, technology and consulting. His current company focusses on cloud computing solutions and the Internet of Things.

Dr Skhumbuzo Ngozwana


Skhumbuzo Ngozwana is the Chief Executive Officer of Kiara Health, a South African-based, Africa-focused healthcare company. He is an international expert on the African pharmaceutical industry and has worked in both private and global public health organisations. He was a consultant for the World Health Organization, United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the United States Pharmacopeia Convention (USP). He co-authored the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa, which was the output of the extensive research and analytical work he conducted on the African pharmaceutical industry. He also co-authored the Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Sector Strategy and Action Plan and the pharmaceutical sector strategies of several countries. He consulted at USP on its Africa strategy and authored a USP thought leadership paper titled, The Next Frontiers for the Public Health Medicines Market: Rethinking Priorities for Improved Access to Quality-Assured Medicines for Universal Access. He is passionate about the development of the pharmaceutical and medtech sector in Africa as a way of achieving health security, and has written and spoken on the topic at leading local and international conferences.

Dr Lonji Kalombo


Dr Lonji Kalombo is a CSIR Principal Scientist. He leads the Advanced Functional Materials Research Group at the CSIR Centre of Nanostructures and Advanced Materials. He holds a Doctorate in chemical engineering and has extensive experience in designing and developing nanomedicine-based products and processes, as well as nanostructures for wastewater treatment. 

He has received numerous CSIR Excellence awards and he was a finalist for the 2016/2017 National Science and Technology Forum award. He has supervised several Master’s and Doctorate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows. He has published more than 35 articles in various international peer-reviewed journals and he is listed on several patents as an inventor.

He was trained in nanomedicine at various overseas institutions, including the University of London in the United Kingdom, Aix-Marseille University in France, Auburn University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in the United States of America.

Ayn du Bazane


Ayn du Bazane is a Senior Fintech Analyst at the South African Reserve Bank, focused on crypto assets and big tech. She is the Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group Chair and a Co-Lead for the Regulatory Guidance Unit in the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group’s Innovation Hub. Prior to joining the Fintech Unit, Du Bazane was a Senior Analyst in the National Payment System Department, where she focused on paytech and non-banks. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Rhodes University and is currently pursuing her Master’s in futures studies at Stellenbosch University

Dr Zubeida Dawood

Scaling up primary healthcare telehealth innovations in trusted cyberspace: Enhancing healthcare access through effective and efficient referral pathways.

Dr Zubeida Dawood is a CSIR Senior Researcher and has a PhD from the University of Cape Town. She serves and leads several cybersecurity forums and advises on cybersecurity awareness campaigns and projects, as well as aims to uplift the cybersecurity posture of communities. Her research interests lie in cybersecurity, cybersecurity governance, semantic web technologies and ontologies.

Dr Amanda Skepu

Scaling up primary healthcare telehealth innovations in trusted cyberspace: Enhancing healthcare access through effective and efficient referral pathways.

Dr Amanda Skepu has a PhD in biochemistry from the University of the Western Cape. She serves on and leads various forums, such as the Advisory Board Committee for Life Sciences at the University of South Africa and the Advisory Board Committee for Pan African Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pretoria. Her research interests and expertise are in molecular and cellular biology, nanotechnology and diagnostics.

Jeremy Wallis

Scaling up primary healthcare telehealth innovations in trusted cyberspace: Enhancing healthcare access through effective and efficient referral pathways.

Jeremy Wallis has an MSc in physics from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is passionate about taking research and development to market to make an impact across diverse market sectors such as health, transport, energy and defence. His research interests include developing point-of-care diagnostics for healthcare in under-resourced settings.

Dr Blessed Okole

The role of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in growing the cannabis and hemp industry in South Africa

Dr Blessed Okole is the CSIR Research Group Leader: Agro-Procesing and Acting Impact Area: Agro-manufacturing. He holds a PhD in agriculture from the Technical University of Berlin in Germany and has a strong international background in agriculture and business operations.

In his last position, he was the Managing Director of SG Sustainable Oils Limited in Cameroon where he was instrumental in establishing a 19 820 hectare oil palm plantation with an ultra-modern oil mill. Previously, he served as the Head of Infrastructure and Planning for the Technology Innovation Agency and the Chief Executive Officer of East Coast Biotechnology Innovation Centre, both initiatives of the then Department of Science and Technology.

As an entrepreneur, Okole started a successful tissue culture company, African Biotechnologies, in South Africa. He has several peer-reviewed publications and holds three patents.

Dr Jakkie Cilliers


Dr Jakkie Cilliers is the founder of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), a regional think- and do-tank with offices in Dakar (Senegal), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Nairobi (Kenya) and Pretoria (South Africa). After stepping down as Executive Director in 2015, he now serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and the Head of the African Futures and Innovation programme at the  ISS Pretoria office.  He is an Extraordinary Professor at the Centre of Human Rights and the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria, as well as a well-known author and analyst. He has an interest in big-picture analysis and issues around the long-term future of South Africa and the rest of Africa – much of it available at futures.issafrica.org.

Marius Reitz


Marius Reitz is the General Manager for Africa at Luno, a leading global cryptocurrency application with its head office in London. He joined Luno in 2016 and helped the company grow from a group of 10 to a global team of 1 000 people across four continents. Reitz shares Luno’s mission, which is to upgrade and improve the global financial system. He is passionate about finding solutions to ensure safe and easy cryptocurrency purchases and transactions around the world. Reitz is a Chartered Management Accountant and holds an Honours degree in management accounting from Stellenbosch University.

Dr Vuyisile Phehane


Dr Vuyisile Phehane completed his doctoral studies in chemical pathologoy at the University of Cape Town. He studied the inhibition of malarial purine salvage enzymes and developed skills in molecular biology, biochemistry, enzymology, genomics, proteomics, chemical synthesis and analysis, rational drug design, protein purification, as well as protein structure-function relationships.

His career started in 2002 at SA Bioproducts in Durban, South Africa,, where he was responsible for the bioprocess development of amino acid production technologies using microbial fermentation platforms at pilot- and toll-scale production levels. He later joined the CSIR as a process scientist, with a key outcome of his work being a process patent for the isolation of compounds from Aloe ferox, which find applications, amongst others, in cosmetic formulations, specifically skin lightening.

He joined the Innovation Fund as a Programme Manager and then moved into the role of a Commercialisation Manager, developing his skills in evaluation (pre-funding), funds disbursement and management, post-funding management and the commercialisation of technology in global territories. This was pursued further at BioPAD (an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, as an Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing Portfolio Manager, where he participated in the establishment of new technology platforms, in addition to his other responsibilities. Phehane then spent seven years as the Senior Manager: Commercialisation at the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa, where he commercialised intellectual property (primarily plant breeders’ rights) developed by scientists, and optimised revenue income in the form of royalties from global territories through the implementation of intellectual management policies.

He has served on the boards of a number of startup companies and has expertise in the negotiation and conclusion of technology licensing deals, as well as the creation of viable spinouts based on solid research and development outcomes. He has managed budgets in excess of R500 million in his working career.

Phehane is an Eisenhower Fellow and has identified best practices in technology incubator and accelerator programmes whilst on fellowship in the United States of America (Eisenhower Multination Programme).

He was a member of the panel of the Innovation Investment Advisory Committee, an initiative funded by the US Agency for International Development and Sweden (through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), which managed the Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development call. He was selected as an independent evaluator for Eurostars, which is a joint initiative between EUREKA and the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020).

He is the founder of ITB Holdings, a private company set-up for the commercialisation of intellectual property, and the provision of advisory services in small and medium enterprise development, new venture creation, equity transactions, as well as economic development using intellectual property.

Phehane was the Director: Technology Transfer Office at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), responsible for the management of intellectual property emanating from research and development initiatives, and was instrumental in the establishment of UJInvnt, the intellectual property commercialisation company of UJ. As Director, he represented UJ as a member of the Independent Advisory Board of Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland.

He has been invited to evaluate and review applications sourced through the Challenge and Prize portfolios of the United States Agency for International Development Center for Development Innovation.

Phehane is currently the Executive: Bio-Economy, at the Technology Innovation Agency, responsible for driving the Bio-Economy strategy of South Africa, and serves on the board of the Biovac Institute, a vaccines and biologicals manufacturing company in South Africa.

Gordon Taylor

A novel, local laser system development

Gordon Taylor has spent the last 33 years in the research, development, deployment and support of innovative technology for the unique requirements of the De Beers Group mining and exploration operations. He commenced his career as a junior research scientist, progressed through project management and research and development department management to eventually lead the South African De Beers technology function. Taylor has a BSc (Hons) in physics from Heriot-Watt University and an MPhil in laser physics from Strathclyde University, both in Scotland.

Suzan Oelofse


Prof. Suzan Oelofse obtained a PhD in 1994 from the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg). Her research interests include the institutional and legal framework within which waste is managed in South Africa and waste information and data, as well as reducing the environmental impacts of waste, circular economy and sustainable consumption and production. She is a CSIR Principal Researcher in sustainability, economics and waste. 

Ilana Wilken

Ilana Wilken is a CSIR Senior Knowledge Applicator. She holds an MA (Applied Language Studies) from the University of Pretoria. Her field of focus is human-computer interaction, and she investigates the physical, emotional, intellectual and social factors that influence how people adopt and use voice computing technology. She uses this knowledge to design the user interface and user experience of products developed during projects and to test the technical outputs.

Currently, she is the project lead for the Language Resources Audit commissioned by Universities South Africa, which is funded by the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources. The audit aims to determine the progress that universities have made in implementing their language policies and what language resources they have developed to date. She is also involved in a project funded by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, called Ngiyaqonda!, whose goal is to develop voice computing technology for the education sector. In addition, Wilken is part of the CSIR team that developed iSinkwe, an app that adds and synchronises human-narrated or computer-generated audio to text to enrich reading and learning through an audio-visual experience.

Kaashifah Beukes


Kaashifah Beukes is the Chief Executive Officer of the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone Licencing Company SOC Ltd and has been with the entity since its inception in 2014. Beukes has almost a decade of experience in the design, construction and project management of civil engineering infrastructure projects. She has considerable experience in successfully leading people and teams through issues of complexity and risk, and is passionate about making a sustainable, transformative impact, especially at the community level. She holds a BSc in civil engineering and an MBA from the University of Cape Town.

Stavros Nicolaou

Stavros Nicolaou is a member of the Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited Group Executive Committee and the Group Senior Executive responsible for strategic trade development. Previously, he was the CEO of Aspen’s Export Business. Aspen is Africa’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer and now a world leader in anaesthetics and injectable anti-coagulants. Aspen is one of South Africa’s most globalised multinational companies with a presence in over 50 geographies globally and 26 manufacturing facilities across six continents. Nicolaou was instrumental in introducing the first generic antiretrovirals (ARVs) on the African continent developed by Aspen, which have gone on to save hundreds of thousands of lives in South Africa and on the African continent.

Nicolaou is a graduate of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) and has over 31 years’ experience in the South African and international pharmaceutical industry, 27 years of which have been with the Aspen Group or its subsidiaries. He is a previous winner of the SA Institute of Marketing Management Health Care Marketer of the Year Award and a previous recipient of the Monty Rubenstein Award for proficiency in pharmaceutics from the Wits University Pharmacy Health Sciences Faculty. He was awarded the Order of the Lion of St Mark by the Greek Orthodox Pope Theodoros II and recently received the title of “High Commander of the Order of the Apostle & Evangelist Mark” of the Patriarchate of Alexandria. He has been inducted as a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Africa (PSSA), one of the highest honours bestowed by the PSSA, and was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Medicine by Wits University.

Nicolaou is particularly passionate about diversity, transformation, championing localisation and building bridges between the private and public sectors to improve access to treatment for patients in emerging markets and healthcare outcomes in these markets. He has been involved in several social responsibility and charitable causes aimed at reducing poverty and inequality and assisting economic growth and development in South Africa. He has been a speaker at numerous conferences, including the Economist Roundtable and the World Economic Forum and has delivered a lecture on ARV developments at the Raigon Institute, a joint venture between Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. 

He has previously served and continues to serve on numerous industry and associated structures, some of which include: 

  • The Advisory Council on National Orders, to which he was appointed by His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa;
  • The Forum to Promote Transparency and Multistakeholder Engagement Regarding Medicine Availability, an advisory body assisting in finding solutions towards improving access to and availability of medicine through enhanced transparency, equity, efficiency, responsiveness and accountability in the supply chain, to which he was appointed by the Minister of Health;
  • Business for South Africa (B4SA) Steering Committee (as a member) and B4SA Health Workgroup (as Chairperson);
  • National Covid-19 Vaccine Co-ordinating Committee and the Covid-19 Vaccine Joint Oversight Steering Committee;
  • Public Health Enhancement Fund (as Chairman) – a collaboration between the private health sector and the Ministry of Health;
  • Wits University Foundation Board of Governors;
  • The Board of Brand South Africa, to which he was re-appointed for a third term by President Cyril Ramaphosa;
  • The Interim Board of Cricket South Africa (as Chairman), to which he was appointed by the Minister of Arts, Sports and Culture; 
  • The Trade and Industry Minister’s Export Panel on devising an export strategy for South Africa;
  • The Board of SA Express Airways (as Chairman between 2005 and 2009), as appointed by the Minister of Public Enterprise; 
  • The Board of Transnet Ltd., the state-owned integrated logistics company (as Chairman from 2004 to 2010), appointed by the Minister of Public Enterprises;
  • The Trade and Investment Committee of the Board of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) (as Chairman) and  Director of the GGDA, as appointed by the MEC for Economic Development for two consecutive terms; 
  • The BRICS Business Council, as appointed by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition for a third term;
  • The Special Economic Zones Advisory Board, as appointed by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition;
  • The South Africa-Saudi Arabia Business Council, as appointed by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (as Chairman);
  • The Marketing Committee and Board of the Board of Proudly South Africa, as appointed by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition and NEDLAC (as Chairman);
  • The Executive of the Manufacturing Circle (as a member);
  • Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) (as a Non-executive Director), the apex business organisation of South Africa and BUSA Health Forum (as Chairman);
  • The South African Pharmaceutical Producers Association (as Chairman) and the Pharmaceutical Task Group, overall Pharmaceutical Industry Umbrella Organisation, (as Chairman); 
  • World Bank/IFC Technical Advisory Board on the strengthening of African Health Systems;
  • The International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (as Vice-President);
  • Wits University, accredited to the Faculty of Health Science (as an Honorary Lecturer); and
  • The North-West University Business School Advisory Board (as Director).

Willie Nel

SAR and its potential to grow and support the South African aerospace sector through wide-ranging and disruptive applications

Willie Nel is a CSIR Chief Radar Engineer and the Technology and Innovation Manager for the organisation’s radar research group.

He holds an MSc in digital image processing from the University of Cape Town and has been working passionately in the field of radar since 1999. His areas of expertise include radar system design, radar imaging, radar target recognition and radar signal processing.

His current area of focus is the design and development of satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle synthetic aperture radar systems. He has published several papers in the areas of radar target recognition and radar imaging and acts as a reviewer for premier radar journals and conferences.

He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and has been serving on the IEEE AESS Radar Systems Panel since 2016. He also served on and chaired the IEEE Dennis J Picard Medal Committee and has taken part in two NATO workgroups (250 and 317) on the topic of radar imaging. He is happily married and treasures spending time with his children. 

Dr Russel Main

Harnessing research, development and innovation for the modernisation of agriculture

Dr Russell Main holds a PhD (Geoinformatics) from the University of Pretoria. He is a CSIR Senior Researcher in remote sensing and precision agriculture with over a decade’s experience performing quantitative analytical (remote sensing) research on natural and agricultural land systems. He has been involved in multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research initiatives aimed at producing actionable geospatial information using Earth observation data.  Recently, he has been leading precision agriculture initiatives in the grain crop sector that make use of multispectral unmanned aerial vehicles and web-based satellite image platforms to develop products and applications for efficient decision support in the (emerging-scale) grain crop sector.

Dr Laurette Marais

Playing the Long Game: Voice Computing to Support Education.

Dr Laurette Marais is a CSIR Senior Researcher who holds a PhD in computer science from Stellenbosch University. She is a Principal Investigator of the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources-funded isiZulu Resource Grammar Project, which aims to develop the first wide-coverage computational grammar for isiZulu, along with accompanying computational language resources. She is also the technical lead on the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture-funded Ngiyaqonda! project, which aims to develop voice computing technology to support a mobile application for developing foundation phase home language reading and writing skills in isiZulu and Sepedi.

She has been researching and developing rule-based grammars for South African languages over the past 12 years. Her primary interest is in developing high accuracy computational language resources for South African languages and applying these in ways that contribute directly to sustainable multilingualism in South Africa.


Guest Speaker

Dr Pali Lehohla is the Director of the Economic Modelling Academy, which aims to empower bureaucrats, civil society, academia and corporates in the use, applications and policy engagements using integrated web-based tools of economic scenario setting, quantification, monitoring and evaluation.  

He is a board member of the Institute for Economic Justice and that of the Foundation for Human Rights. He is the former Statistician-General of South Africa, a position he held from 2000 until 2017. He was Co-Chair of the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century, also known as PARIS21, and the Chair of the United Nations (UN) Statistics Commission. He was the founding Chair of the Statistics Commission of Africa and chaired the African Symposium for Statistical Development. He was the Vice President of the International Statistics Institute and served as one of the 25-member panel on Data Revolution, appointed by the UN Secretary-General. 

Lehohla has been a forceful advocate for improving the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics systems in Africa. He has consulted extensively for in conflict, out of conflict and fragile states on statistics matters. He has been a Research Associate at Oxford University since 2018.  For the last 20 years, he has been a weekly columnist in the Business Report. In August 2022, he joined the Sunday Times Daily Online as a weekly columnist and is a regular contributor to leadership magazines.

Pontsho Maruping

Investment in space and astronomy - what are the dividends on Earth for developing countries?

Pontsho Maruping’s career spans both the private and public sectors at executive level. She is the Managing Director: Operations and Business Processes at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO). SARAO is a facility of the National Research Foundation (NRF) and is responsible for managing all radio astronomy initiatives and facilities in South Africa, including the MeerKAT radio telescope in the Karoo and the Geodesy and very-long-baseline interferometry activities at the HartRAO facility.

She serves as a member of the board of Mintek and trustee for the NRF Pension Fund. She is the former chairperson of the South African Council for Space Affairs (2016-2021), an agency responsible for regulating space activities in South Africa, and the Science and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on Peaceful uses of Outer Space (2018-2020).

Prior to joining SARAO, she was an executive at the Technology Innovation Agency, responsible for innovation funding and pre-commercialisation support. Her other previous roles include that of CEO of the Mine Health and Safety Council and Chief Director for space science and technology at the then Department of Science and Technology, where she spearheaded the establishment of the South African National Space Agency.

Her educational qualifications include an Executive Master’s in Business Administration (IMD, Switzerland), Master’s in space systems engineering (Delft University of Technology, Netherlands), Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in management of technology (University of Pretoria), Bachelor of Science (Eng) in mineral processing (University of the Witwatersrand).

Vishaal Lutchman


Vishaal Lutchman is the Managing Director: Transport at Zutari. He leads a highly skilled team of engineering and advisory professionals providing solutions for clients in South Africa, selected African countries and the Middle East.

Previously, he was the Chief Executive Officer of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE). He led the advancement of engineering practitioners in addition to advocacy and oversight of the engineering profession.

Prior to joining SAICE, he was Director: Transportation and Infrastructure at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff in the management, design and implementation of the firm’s freight logistics projects in the maritime, aviation and rail sectors. He was also the Deputy Chief Engineer at Transnet, overseeing the parastatal’s capital projects and port infrastructure development.

Vishaal has been focused on integrating organisational strategy, operations and technical capacity with future-fit leadership for the development of African solutions by Africans.

Lebo Masekela


Lebo Masekela holds a BSc in mechanical engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is the Chief Executive Officer for the OEM Mining Supply Forum and a technology entrepreneur who has worked in diverse industries, including mining, engineering, defence, rail and information technology. He has also been involved in the launch and management of innovative companies in vehicle tracking, electricity smart metering and mobile payments technology. He has more than 30 years of high technology management experience at both middle and senior management, as well as director levels.

Nicholas Musyoka


Dr Nicholas Musyoka is a CSIR Research Group Leader and Principal Researcher. He holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of the Western Cape. He is currently finalising a Master’s in technology and innovation management at the University of Pretoria. He is a Future Leaders – African Independent Research Fellow, a C2-rated National Research Foundation scientist and an affiliate of the African Academy of Sciences. Musyoka leads several hydrogen-related and carbon capture and utilisation technology development projects, with a special focus on materials-based hydrogen storage, green methanol, biogas upgrading to biomethane, and biogenic biogas-derived turquoise hydrogen production. He also champions the safety, codes and standards special project.

Belinda Matebese


Empowering the SA workforce to embrace the 4IR – A Learning Factory approach

Dr Belinda Matebese holds a PhD in applied mathematics from Stellenbosch University. She joined the CSIR in 2012 on a studentship programme for postgraduate research. As part of her PhD studies, she has formulated research questions around applying optimal control theory to field robotics path planning problems and has presented her work at both local and international conferences.

She has been part of the CSIR Centre for Robotics and Future Production since 2018. Earlier this year, she became part of the Learning Factory project, which was established to support skills development and innovation for leveraging fourth industrial revolution (4IR) opportunities. Her research interests span field robotics, applied mathematics and skills development in 4IR competencies.