Appointment of executive director: research

27 July 2020 | From Kgethi

Dear colleagues and students

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Dr Linda Mtwisha has been appointed as the new executive director of research for the University of Cape Town (UCT) with effect from 1 October 2020.

Dr Mtwisha joins UCT from the University of Johannesburg, where she is the senior director of strategic initiatives and administration.

She has a strong background and extensive experience in the research sector. She began her career as a post-doctoral fellow at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. In this position she assisted in setting up a new proteomics research platform. After a year she was promoted to senior scientist. In both positions, she was one of the major players in providing strategic and operational guidance in the establishment and capacitating of a fully-fledged state-of-the-art research platform, while also involved in research activities.

Dr Mtwisha’s qualifications include a PhD in biochemistry from UCT and a master’s degree in business leadership from the University of South Africa. She graduated with a BSc in biochemistry and microbiology from the University of the Western Cape.

She was also a programme director at the National Research Foundation (NRF), managing the South African Research Chairs Initiative. The initiative is the Department of Science and Technology’s strategic intervention intended to strengthen and improve research and innovation capacity of public universities for producing high quality postgraduate students, research, and innovation outputs.

She has three peer-reviewed journal publications, a book chapter and a report on a study commissioned in 2018 by the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa and the Wellcome Trust. The report seeks to identify core competencies, skills and experiences required to be a successful research leader and to identify and evaluate leadership training available to research institutions in Africa.

Dr Mtwisha has, among her achievements, successfully taken the NRF programme from being administrative to a well-managed one with appropriate processes, some of which were adopted within the organisation and in some universities. The successes in the programme resulted in international recognition, which led to a collaboration with the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and innovation; the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute; the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research; and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to establish international bilateral research chairs.

We congratulate Dr Mtwisha and look forward to welcoming her to UCT.

She will take over from Ms Christina Pather, who has held the fort since the retirement of Dr Marilet Sienart at the end of 2019. We thank Ms Pather for her contribution in the time she has been acting in the role.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

Read previous communications:

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.