Dr Stephen Devereux, IDS research fellow, has been announced as a South Africa-UK bilateral research chair as part of the Newton Fund and National Research Foundation (NRF) UK-SA Bilateral Research Chair initiative (SARChi).
In the midst of rising food prices coupled with (potentially) the worst drought the country has ever experienced, SARChi has made food security research in South Africa an urgent priority.
A focus on food insecurity
The SARChi will address questions on why food insecurity in South Africa remains so high, despite the comprehensive social protection system and; how can the impact of social protection on hunger be improved? The UK-SA Bilateral Research Chair initiative is a National Research Foundation (NRF) joint programme implemented through the British Council. The initiative aims to help strengthen research and innovation capacities in SA and the UK and to promote International exchange and cooperation.
“Food insecurity is not caused by lack of food at national level, but by lack of access to food at individual level, mainly due to poverty,” says Dr Devereux. “One response to food insecurity is social protection, which improves access to food for the poor, either by giving them food or by raising their income,” he adds. Yet, despite South Africa’s extensive and expanded social protection system, food insecurity and malnutrition remain highly prevalent, with an estimated one in four South Africans being food insecure.
SARChi in the future
The Newton Fund UK-SA Bilateral Chairs initiative aims to help strengthen research and innovation capacities in SA and the UK and to promote International exchange and cooperation. This initiative aims to help to support South Africa’s transformation to a knowledge economy, boosting its International competitiveness and strengthening the country’s ability to produce excellence in postgraduate research and to advance the fronteirs of knowledge through knowledge co-creation.
Dr Devereux will be based at the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Institute for Social Development, and affiliated to the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security (CoE-FS). The CoE-FS’s network spans 12 local universities, seven international partners, and two research councils. “This SARChi presents an opportunity to further widen our network and create new linkages to expand the reach of the Centre. Specifically, this initiative symbolises the importance of international collaborations as a key ingredient to responding to global socio-economic challenges,” says Professor Julian May, director of the CoE-FS.
The initiative also fits well with the Centre’s vision to become a global leader for research, capacity building, knowledge brokerage and service provision in food security and nutrition in Africa, achieved though collaborations with outstanding institutions and scholars on the continent and elsewhere.
For further information, please contact Mologadi Makwela, DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security