Nelson Mandela University has entered into a research partnership with French National Research Centre (CNRS) and the University of Lyon 1, which will see the institution being home to a first of its kind collaborative research and training hub.

Great excitement is mounting, and preparations are underway to launch the International Research Laboratory (IRL REHABS) at the Sustainability Research Unit (SRU) on the 6th of December 2019.  

Prof Jeanne Nel, Research Associate with the Sustainability Research Unit recently co-authored a paper on an international study titled “Key knowledge gaps to achieve global sustainability goals” which was published in Nature Sustainability on the 28th of October 2019. This important study systematically synthesized knowledge gaps from recent assessments of four regions of the globe and three key themes by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. 

While at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis as a guest research assistant, Mr. Masunungure will be collaborating with Prof. Yuri Ermoliev (Advanced Systems Analysis program, ASA) and Dr. Tatiana Ermolieva (Ecosystems Services and Management program, ESM), where he will seek to develop a stochastic and dynamic model to inform the choices of appropriate robust management options of woody IAPs.

On the 27th of June 2019 representatives from the SRU; Clemson University in South Carolina, USA; South African National Parks (SANParks), scientific services; The Knysna Basin Project and the Independent Institution of Education Monash South Africa (IIE MSA) came together to learn about each other and to find synergies in their work.

On Monday the 13th of May the Sustainability Research Unit (SRU) hosted a training workshop on sustainable fisheries and certification presented by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

A workshop was facilitated by Prof Robert Fincham and Dr Karin Badenhorst on 2 April 2019 at SRU, to provide feedback on the Predation Management Workshop co-hosted by the Predation Management Forum at the Centre for African Conservation and Ecology (ACE) at the NMU Campus in Port Elizabeth on Thursday 21 February 2019.

The Sustainability Research Unit (SRU) is pleased to welcome Dr Karin Badenhorst and Dr Jaco Barendse who have joined the SRU team.

Natural resource managers are often ill equipped to cope with the complexity of conflicts in and around protected areas under their care. The Sustainability Research Unit at the Nelson Mandela University responded to this need and hosted a training workshop on 29 & 30 November 2018.

Following the GRIM event was the first Spring School on Social-Ecological Systems Research held on the George Campus and in Wilderness from the 5th to the 10th of October 2018. 

The Director of the Sustainability Research Unit spoke to two audiences of academics and public members as part of the National Science Week celebrations at the Nelson Mandela University Science Faculty Symposium on the 18th of July in Port Elizabeth, and as part of the George Campus Executive Public Lecture Series on the 6th of September 2018.  

Western Cape Biosphere Reserve Workshop: A landmark event hosted by the Sustainability Research Unit. A diversity of researchers and practitioners working on and in South Africa’s Western Cape biosphere reserves were brought together in a landmark event hosted by the Sustainability Research Unit at the Nelson Mandela University, George Campus on the 31st of August 2018. 

SRU 2018 Research Associate Symposium brings minds together to contribute to a research agenda for the unit going forward. A part of the Sustainability Research Unit’s (SRU) vision is to be an energizing open space for inter, multi and trans-disciplinary thinking and learning, where talented people can come together to think, learn and co-create inspiring ideas. The SRU Research Associate Symposium is one such space. 

PhD student, Current Masunungure (number 4, front row from right-left)  was part of the 24 doctoral students (Cohort 3) who attended the one month-long (25 June to 21 July 2018) capacity development programme hosted by Stellenbosch University. 

The June 2018 Southern Cape Landowners initiative (SCLI) Environmental Seminar: A successful commemoration of the June 2017 fires and a SRU view of future actions.

The 16th annual Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) Commemorative Seminar revisited the devastation caused by the June 2017 fires. In so doing, it reflected on the remarkable ways in which the affected communities stood together in the wake of the fires, assessed the environmental restoration work undertaken and raised the need to confront the challenges of avoiding such environmental tragedies in the future. 


Dr. Bianca Currie, the director of the SRU and recently appointed director (research portfolio) on the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve board, together with Dr. Lisa Heider, a recent doctoral graduate of the SRU presented at the Gouritz Cluster Forum meeting at the Rooiberg Lodge near van Wyksdorp on the 15th May 2018. 

The Sustainability Research Unit led a session at the recent Future Earth Seedbeds of Transformation conference focused on the role of science with society and the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.

The SRU saw two of its PhD students walk across the stage at the Nelson Mandela University graduation ceremony on Friday the 13th of April 2018.  

Bianca Currie, Zanele Hartmann and Ellie Pedarros, representing the Sustainability Research Unit, attended the Community Voices: engaging with people in conversation workshop hosted by Prof Ronel Nel at the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research in Port Elizabeth on the 10th and 11th of April 2018.  The participatory workshop aimed to explore the potential for improving resource management and conservation interventions by integrating the human dimension.

SRU PhD Student Current Masunungure was recently awarded the Systems Analysis Centre (SASAC) Doctoral Scholarships in 2018 and selected as one of the 10 scholarships (out of 30) which includes support under the British Council’s Newton Funded PhD programme.