Research Chairs

The CST is home to several academic researchers who hold prestigious Chairs in their respective academic fields. These Chairs produce innovative research that help define the frontier of the CST’s work and impact.

Prof Reinette (Oonsie) Biggs

SARChI Chair in Social-Ecological Systems (SES) and Resilience

The SARChI Chair in Social-Ecological Systems (SES) and Resilience focuses on four themes:

i) advancing the theory and methods related to SES and resilience;
ii) analysing and documenting social-ecological regime shifts and tipping points in SES;
iii) analysing and facilitating sustainability transformations in SES; and
iv) supporting the development of regional and global networks for SES, and resilience research and practice.

The work of this Chair is embedded in knowledge-coproduction processes and collaboration with local and international partners and networks to advance research and the implementation of resilience-building practices regionally and globally.

Prof Rika Preiser and
Tanja Hichert

UNESCO Co-Chairs in Complex Systems and Transformative African Futures

The UNESCO Chair in Complex Systems and Transformative African Futures draws on the expertise of the two co-chairholders to integrate their in-depth knowledge of complex systems and the conceptual and practical applications of futures studies.

The Co-Chairs develop capacities for studying and exploring the nature of complex interdependent socio-ecological systems and their futures, how to understand change in these systems, and how to help create the conditions for ecologically sustainable and socially just futures. One of the deliverables is the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) project, “Disruptors and Enablers of Research for Development: Exploring Futures”, which uses strategic foresight tools to assist funders to better prepare for the challenges that research institutions face in a changing world.

Find out about the projects attached to this research chair here:

Prof Mark Swilling

SARChI Chair in Urban Governance and Energy in Africa

The SARChI Chair in Urban Governance and Energy in Africa produces innovative research that explores, develops, and advances new theories and evidence-based research on African cities.

The Chair leads globally recognised research on sustainable urbanism in the global South (with a strong focus on African cities) and focuses on the transformation of traditional research processes and outputs through strong and effective science communication that goes beyond traditional academic research methods in order to nurture broader public debate.

Dr Hayley Clements

AWEI research chair in African wildlife economies

The AWEI research Chair in African wildlife economies works with the African Wildlife Economy Institute at Stellenbosch University to develop and implement its strategic research programme of unlocking inclusive, diversified, and flourishing wildlife economies across the African continent.

AWEI envisions transformed, enhanced, and maintained African landscapes—complex systems that deliver biodiversity conservation, climate resilience, inclusive economic opportunities, and human well-being. The Chair is in partnership with Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation.