About Us

What we do

The South African SDG Hub is a metaplatform that aggregates the best and most relevant research on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from South African and selected non-South African universities. Our machine-learning-based classification tool classifies research in terms of one or more of the SDGs. Our mission is to increase the impact of research published on universities' institutional repositories.

The South African SDG Hub is a national resource hosted by the Albert Luthuli Leadership Institute at the University of Pretoria.

Our metaplatform currently addresses three challenges related to the use of research in policymaking.

  1. Access. By leveraging university repositories, the South African SDG Hub offers policymakers access to research at no cost.
  2. Relevance. The metaplatform’s machine-learning-based classification tool addresses the problem of relevance by classifying research in terms of the SDGs.
  3. Time. The platform saves policymakers time by offering them centralised access to research produced at South Africa’s public universities and selected universities beyond South Africa.

Our Partners

University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria hosts the South African SDG Hub and provides financial and non-financial support.

BMZ through the GIZ

South African SDG Policy Support Initiative

The South African SDG Hub hosts the South African SDG Policy Support Initiative. The SDG Policy Support Initiative acts as an co-ordinating mechanism to bring experts from academia together with the Presidency of South Africa to support evidence-informed policymaking.

SDSN South Africa

SDSN South Africa mobilises academic and research institutes and leverages their strengths to help realise the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.

Master's in Development Practice

Through the Global Association of Master's in Development Practice, this multidisciplinary programme prepares participants to better identify and address the challenges of sustainable development in general and the SDGs in particular.

Our team

The South African SDG Hub is run by a team of committed and innovative academics and data scientists.

Elma Akob

Communications

Elma holds a Master's in Strategic Business Management and supports the South African SDG Hub's communication functions. She has worked with global entertainment companies and has moderated and spoken on national and global platforms.

Hamish Craze

Web Developer and Development Operations

Hamish Craze is a deep learning specialist with experience in natural language processing and expertise in image recognition. Full Stack Developer.

Dr Jurgens de Lange

Technical Advisor

Dr Jurgens de Lange, the Hub’s technical project advisor, is a theoretical and computational chemist used to working with massive and highly correlated data sets, often developing machine learning, mathematical and computational models to find clear and pragmatic answers. He has a keen interest in evidence-based and data-driven policy research.

Prof. Willem Fourie

Founder and Coordinator

Professor Willem Fourie is the founder and coordinator of the South African SDG Hub. In addition to his peer-reviewed publication and postgraduate supervision record, he as extensive experience in advising companies, countries and multilateral organisations. He has worked closely with the United Nations, African Union, European Union and the Presidency of South Africa.

Graeme Ford

Senior Web Developer and Development Operations

Graeme Ford is a Full-stack web developer with qualifications in both backend and front end industry-level frameworks. A development operations manager with experience in stack planning, environmental administration and architecture planning/configuration from small scale to enterprise-scale deployments.

Christopher Marais

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Christopher Marais is a data scientist with a skill set that focuses on machine learning applications to natural language process and graph network analysis.

Prof. Vukosi Marivate

Technical Advisor

Vukosi is the ABSA UP Chair of Data Science at the University of Pretoria. Vukosi works on developing Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence methods to extract insights from data. A large part of his work over the last few years has been in the intersection of Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing.

Dr Dominique Mystris

South Africa SDG Policy Support Initiative

Dominique is the project lead for the SA SDG Policy Support Initiative. With a background in Public International Law, she has lectured at various universities since 2011, worked for international research institutions and organisations, and consulted for non-profit organisations in Africa, Asia and London on human rights and international law issues including development of policy approaches.

Hannes Strydom

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Hannes Strydom is a specialist in all things data: collection, (including APIs, repositories or webpages), management (including data formatting and storage) and data analysis.

Isak van der Walt

Technical Advisor

Isak van der Walt is currently Digital Scholarship & Innovation Manager for the Department of Library Services at the University of Pretoria. He oversees the Digital Services and Systems unit which comprises of Digital Scholarship, Information Technology, e-Services, Digitisation, and the Library MakerSpace. With over 20 years of experience in the academic ICT sector, he has developed a key interest and focus on Research Data Management and using modern-day technologies for the enhancement, visibility, and discoverability of digital assets.