The University of the Free State’s Prof. Ivan Turok from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), who is one of South Africa’s most cited social scientists, has been awarded a research chair by the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI). The UFS is now home to six SARChI chairs.
SARChI is a government intervention aimed at strengthening the scientific research and innovation capacity of South African universities.
According to a statement by the UFS, Prof. Turok, will hold the Research Chair in City-Region Economies in the Department of Economics and Finance and the Centre for Development Support at the UFS.
Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof. Francis Petersen, says that Prof. Turok’s appointment as Research Chair is a great honour for the university. He is a highly rated researcher and his knowledge of city-region economies will be of exceptional value to the university’s research portfolio, as well as to the country’s agenda of transforming urban areas.
“Our country is in dire need of research in this area, in which Prof. Turok will be playing a significant role,” said Prof. Francis Petersen.
According to Prof. Lochner Marais, Head of the UFS Centre for Development Support, the research chair will have four main themes: The Urban System – Demographics and Economics; Economic Sectors in Space; Dynamic Places; and Strategic Urban Assets.
The chair brings together research from the Departments of Economics and Finance, Urban and Regional Planning, and the Centre for Development Support. The long-term goal is to develop the chair into a centre of excellence.
“The chair is co-funded by the South African Cities Network. All research will speak directly to the South African Cities Network’s agenda of transforming urban areas in the country,” Prof. Marais added.
The CEO of the Human Sciences Research Council, Prof. Crain Soudien, said it is fitting that this research chair has been awarded to Prof. Turok. “It is a culmination of many years of work in the area of city regions through which he has earned a sterling reputation as a scholar in this area of work.”