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Young engineer chosen to lead South Africa’s NRF


New CEO’s background is in managing innovation-driven research

Fulufhelo Nelwamondo has been appointed chief executive officer of South Africa’s National Research Foundation.

The NRF made the announcement on 26 March. Gansen Pillay had been serving as acting CEO since 1 January when Molapo Qhobela’s term ran out and was not renewed.

Nelwamondo, 38, is a chemical engineer by training. He was the executive manager for the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s cluster for next generation enterprises and institutions.

“He has a proven track record in spearheading innovation-driven research portfolios that demonstrated huge financial returns and societal impact,” an NRF statement said. It also praised his research related to the fourth industrial revolution, a government focus under president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Meanwhile, the Department of Higher Education and Training has announced that another top position will soon also see a new face.

It posted a vacancy for a director-general for the department, to replace Gwebinkundla Qonde, who has held the position for a decade.