The Directorate Strategic Partnerships is pleased to announce the appointments of Dr Tshiamo Motshegwa as Director, and Dr Nokuthula Mchunu as Deputy-Director of the African Open Science Platform (AOSP). Dr Motshegwa will take up the position on 1 January 2022, and Dr Mchunu on 1 February 2022.
These strategic portfolios will direct and support the AOSP – which aims to position African scientists at the cutting edge of data intensive science by stimulating interactivity and creating opportunity through the development of efficiencies of scale, building critical mass through shared capacities, and amplifying impact through a commonality of purpose and voice. Since 2020, the AOSP Project Office is hosted by the National Research Foundation, with the implementation of activities scheduled to start in 2022. The AOSP is supported by the South African Department of Science and Innovation, the International Science Council, CODATA, the Academy of Science of South Africa, Bibliotheca Alexandria and other prominent regional networks.
Dr Tshiamo Motshegwa is a computer scientist and an academic in High-Performance Computing and Data Science research. He has interest in the science, policy, industry and public interface, and multilateral engagements for advancing open science collaboration. For the past seven years he has served on various Ministerial Committees of the Government of Botswana, Southern African Development Community (SADC) Expert Working Groups, as well as in the Botswana Open Data Open Science (ODOS) Forum. In addition, he has worked on numerous initiatives that promote regional, continental and global cooperation. He has led national and institutional projects that entrench constructs of the Triple Helix, and University-Industry-Government relations – including through co-creation to strengthen University and national research and innovation ecosystems. He has experience in corporate governance and serves as various Boards, with oversight of company human resource strategies, including in Human Capital Development pertaining to technology development and utilisation.
Dr Nokuthula Mchunu is a Senior Researcher from the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa in the Biotechnology Platform. She completed her doctoral degree in fungal genomics, was previously a senior scholar in the Department of Biotechnology of Durban University of Technology for more that 15 years. She has also served as a scientist in a number of international institutions including the University of Cincinnati (USA), Lund University (Sweden), Tianjin University, (China) and the Centre for Chemical Biology (Malaysia). She is the first recipient of the Young Scientist Programme between China and South Africa. Her research focused on Covid and pathogen surveillance in wastewater, fungal genetics, Cannabis and Africa legume genomics. Dr Mchunu brings a wealth of experience in academia outreach programmes, the popularisation of science, and open science.