Prof Hettie Schönfeldt, Director of the African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence for Food Security led by the University of Pretoria (UP), and an associate of the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Well-being, has won the bid for the first five-year cycle of the Department of Science and Technology (DST)/National Research Foundation (NRF) South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChl) in the National Development Plan Priority Area of Nutrition and Food Security.
The Research Chairs Initiative aims to improve the research and innovation capacity of public universities for producing high quality postgraduate students and research and innovation outputs. The Chairs are held by a university in partnership with a public research institution such as another university, a science council, a national research facility or an academic health complex.
Prof Schönfeldt, a NRF B-3- rated scientist, is interested in nutrition and food security because ‘it provides opportunities for finding practical solutions for society as food is an integral part of our daily lives’. She said the Chair in Nutrition and Food Security is aimed at significantly expanding the scientific research base on food and nutrition of South Africa in a way that supports implementation of the national research and development policies, translating into socio-economic benefits.