SGCI Advisory Council

Dr. Kevit Desai
Owner and Managing Director of Centurion Systems Ltd
Dr Desai has a PhD in Robotics Control Systems Engineering from Shibaura Institute of Technology in Japan. He is the owner and managing director of Centurion Systems Ltd and has served in various roles including Governor of Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and Commissioner of the Commission of Higher Education. As a Task Force Member of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Desai was responsible for the development of the University Act; Science, Technology and Innovation Act; and Technical, Vocational Education and training (TIVET) Act of Parliament. He has been supporting innovation over the last 15 years and initiated the inception of the annual Engineering Students Exhibition. He is currently championing LIWA (Linking Industry With Academia) whose main goal is to establish effective linkages between the Industry and Academia.


Dr Alex C. Ezeh
Executive Director, African Population & Health Research Center (APHRC)
Alex Ezeh is the Executive Director of The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) and honorary professor of public health at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Dr. Ezeh joined APHRC in November 1998 from Macro International Inc. (USA). In 2000, he was appointed Director of APHRC and charged with the responsibility of leading the then fellowship program of the Population Council to become an independent entity. Dr. Ezeh has since guided APHRC to become one of Africa’s foremost regional research centers addressing population, health and education issues. Dr. Ezeh also directs the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA), a multi-country multi-university initiative to strengthen the training and retention of academics at African universities, with special focus on public and population health. Dr. Ezeh has published extensively on population and health issues in sub-Saharan Africa and serves on a number of institutional boards and international panels where he continues to contribute to global discourse on population and health issues. He received his PhD in Demography from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993.


Prof Berhanu Abegaz Molla
Executive Director, African Academy of Sciences
Prof Berhanu Abegaz is the Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences, a position he assumed since 2011. Previously he was Professor of chemistry of the University of Botswana for 17 years (1994-20110 and Addis Ababa University for 21 years (1973-1994). Abegaz has contributed to the rapid growth and development of the Academy that has been witnessed in recent years. During this time the Academy has secured recognition by the African Union and NEPAD, the technical executing agency of the Union. The number of Fellows and in particular women fellows has increased significantly. Abegaz has assisted in articulating the three important functions of the Academy, namely, recognizing excellence; providing think-tank functions, and engaging in programmatic activities. Abegaz is widely known for promoting South-South cooperation in research and postgraduate education and is the co-founder of highly successful networks such as the Natural Product Research Network for Eastern and Central Africa (NAPRECA), the Network for Analytical and Bioassay Services in Africa (NABSA), and the pan-African Natural Products Library (p-ANPL). Abegaz has served in many national, regional and global organizations such as the UNESCO Science Board (co-Vice Chair of IBSP), the Committee for Scientific Planning and Research of ICSU, as senior Advisor to IOCD, IFS, etc. He has also received a number of prizes and awards, the IFS-DANIDA award, the Pierre Crabbe Award, the CNR Rao Award, The Chemical Society of Ethiopia merit award. He is a member of several professional organizations and an elected fellow of TWAS, AAS and EAS.


Dr David Langley
Director of Research and Enterprise Development, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
David Langley is Director of Research and Enterprise Development at the University of Bristol which is a world leading research intensive institution, where he leads a team of 120+ professional staff across a broad spectrum of research and innovation. He was previously appointed as Professor of Practice in Research Management and Administration (RMA) at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University – the first appointment of its kind in the UK, where his role was to advice on and develop executive education programmes in RMA, including at postgraduate certificate and Master’s level. He is a Special Adviser on research collaboration to the British Council in Japan, and has a network of contacts in Japan, Southern Africa, USA and Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe. He was previously Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser to the Welsh Government (on secondment), where his role was primarily external, working with a range of stakeholders, such as Govt Depts., funding agencies and industry and was also responsible for research programme delivery, capacity building and leadership development for researchers. Before this he was Director of Research Services at Imperial College London, a senior manager at the Medical Research Council (UK), has worked in industry (SME) and the NHS. He has a PhD in neuropharmacology from the University of London and undertook post-doctoral research as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the National Institutes of Health, USA. David was a keynote speaker at the 10th anniversary conference of SARIMA and has spoken at workshops in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria, the latter as the guest of DST at SADC meeting. He is joint lead of the Erasmus+ project ‘Strengthening of Research Management’ (StoRM) which aims to introduce certificate and Master’s level professional development opportunities for RMAs across SADC region and the Baltic states of Eastern Europe. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) and was awarded the inaugural Carter Award for excellence in RMA in 2014.


Prof Frans Swanepoel
Professor, Future Africa at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Frans Swanepoel is Professor at Future Africa at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria, South Africa; and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for African Development (IAD) at Cornell University, USA. He was the former DVC Research and Innovation at the University of the Western Cape, Founding Director of the African Doctoral Academy (ADA) at Stellenbosch University, Senior Director Research at the University of the Free State, and Director of the Postgraduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development at the University of Pretoria. He is an accomplished scientific leader in South Africa and internationally, confirmed by his election during 2010 as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and in 2016 as a Foreign Fellow of the Ugandan Academy of Science, as well as his appointment as Senior Fulbright Fellow at Cornell University, during 2008/2009 respectively. Prof Swanepoel serves on the Boards of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa, and the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) initiative, based in Nairobi. He was the lead consultant to develop a continental framework for agricultural education and skills development, under NEPAD. He currently chairs an ASSAf Consensus Panel to revitalise agricultural education and training in South Africa. His fields of specialization include African smallholder agriculture, research and innovation management, agricultural education and training, internationalization of higher education, and capacity development. In 2016, he has been recognised for significant contributions to capacity development in support of agricultural development in Africa by the Regional University Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM).


Prof Lynn Mytelka
Professorial Fellow, UNU – MERIT Professor
Lynn Krieger Mytelka is a Professorial Fellow at UNU-MERIT and former Director of its predecessor, the United Nations University Institute for New Technologies (UNU-INTECH), in Maastricht, NL (July 2000- December 2004). In 2004 she became a member of the Executive Committee of the Global Energy Assessment and convening lead analyst for its work on capacities and capacity building for energy transitions and served on the EU Expert Advisory Group (EAC) on International Cooperation. From 1996 through 1999, she was Director of the Division on Investment, Technology and Enterprise Development (DITE) at UNCTAD in Geneva. Prior to this she taught at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, where she was a Professor in the Faculty of Management and Public Policy from 1982 to 2002 when she was appointed a Distinguished Research Professor, a position she held for many years. Professor Mytelka has served as a senior international advisor to UNIDO, and has headed projects at the EU, OECD, UNEP, IDRC, the Department of Science and Technology in South Africa, and is currently working with MISTRA a research institute in South Africa that is focused on innovation and clean technology. A book on this subject is currently in press. Among her other recent publications are Making Choices About Hydrogen: Transport Issues for Developing Countries (edited with Grant Boyle) Tokyo: UNU Press & Ottawa: IDRC Press, 2008, Innovation and Economic Development (ed.) The International Library of Critical Writings in Economics, Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar, 2007,“Technology Transfer Issues in Environmental Goods and Services”, Geneva: ICTSD, Issue Paper No. 6, 2007,”From clusters to innovation systems in traditional industries” in B. Oyelaran-Oyeyinka & D. McCormick (eds.) , Industrial Clusters and Innovation Systems in Africa, Tokyo: United Nations University Press and “Pathways and Policies to (Bio) Pharmaceutical Innovation Systems in Developing Countries” Industry and Innovation, vol.13, no.4, December 2006.


Dr Wanjiru Kamau- Ruttenberg
Director, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development
Dr Kamau-Rutenberg is the Director of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AtsWARD). Through its investments in Africa’s leading women agricultural scientist, AWARD serves as a catalyst for innovations contributing to the prosperity and well-being of African smallholder farmers. Dr Kamau-Rutenberg has received widespread, recognition for her work investing in women, including being honored as a White House Champion of Change, named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African magazine, recognize, recognized as a Ford Foundation Champion of Democracy, and named one of Kenya’s Top 40 Women under age 40 among others. Born in Kenya, Kamau-Rutenberg holds a PhD and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from Whitman College in Washington, USA.

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