Unesco - Unisa Africa Chair in nanoscience and nanotechnology


In accord with the UNESCO UNITWIN strategic orientations, the primary objectives of this continental trans-discipline joint UNESCO chair initiative are:

  • to implement & steer a continental capacity building and a dual-based postgraduate diploma in the multi-disciplinary area of nanosciences with the chair’s host institution as the driving force,
  • to further the human capital mobility of both junior and senior scientists within the continent and enhance their scientific visibility in the cross-border landscape of nanosciences & nanotechnology with UNISA as the central platform,
  • to implement targeted applied research & development programs to address specific urgent societal needs common within the continent such as cost-effective solar energy and water purification based nanotechnologies for rural areas,
  • to foster the E-learning platform of the operational Nanosciences African Network and sustain the nanosynergies within the continent via regular series of webinars and teleconferences in
  • to promote information sharing and facilitate E-literature access in the various scientific disciplines as the host high education institution has the largest electronic database in the continent,
  • to promote and optimize the resources and R&D infrastructure sharing in the continent,
  • to encourage downstream nanomaterials engineering and value-adding activities in Africa, and training in acquiring entrepreneurship skills.

By attaining the major milestones of its objectives, it is expected that this joint UNESCO-UNISA-iThemba LABS NRF chair would contribute in shaping the current Science, Technology & Innovation cooperation and dynamic between Africa and the rest of the world. Indeed, due to the lack of official operational platforms, the scientific exchanges are mainly with the North. By its multisectorial nature, a multi-disciplinary platform such as the current U2ACN2 chair would induce an intra-continental synergy. This UNESCO-UNISA Africa joint Chair will benefit from several long standing accomplishments:

  • a sustainable 11 years’ comprehensive experience of the fully operational Nanosciences African Network (NANOAFNET), a network recognized and supported by various international organizations including the UNESCO-AIEA Abdus Salam ICTP, ICSU and the AU,
  • the management’s know-how and management capabilities acquired within numerous national, continental and international programs since 1999,
  • the established global partnership/network with funding agencies and high profile education institutions with whom the chair has firm delivery performances and reliable track records,
  • the higher education expertise of the host institution UNISA and its R&D infrastructure with that of its major partner institution; iThemba LABS including the several channels of its mother institution; the National Research Foundation of South Africa,
  • the established robust ties with UN agencies including UNESCO, AIEA, UNIDO, WHO, and UNECA.

Last modified: 2020/03/26