Global Change & Sustainability Research Institute (GCSRI)

Director: Prof Barend Erasmus

Professor Robert (Bob) Scholes joined GCSRI from the Council for Scientific and Industrial (CSIR) at the beginning of 2015. He is a systems ecologist with a particular interest in the savannahs of Africa. He trained under Brian Walker at Wits and Pedro Sanchez at North Carolina State and has over thirty years of field experience in many parts of Africa and the world. He is among the top 1% of environmental scientists worldwide based on citation frequency, publishing widely in the fields of savannah ecology, global change, and earth observation. He has led several highprofile studies (for example, the Assessment of Elephant Management, Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change) and research campaigns (such as SAFARI 2000, Southern African Millennium Assessment). He is or has been a member of the steering committee of several International Council of Scientific Unions research programmes. He has served as a convening or lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change during the 3rd, 4th and 5th assessments and was co-chair of the Conditions Working Group of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. He has been a member of the steering committees of several global earth observation bodies: Global Climate Observing System; Global Terrestrial Observing System (chair), Group on Earth Observation (GEO) Implementation Planning Task Team, GEO Biodiversity Observation Network (chair). He has been on the boards of the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, the South African National Parks and South African National Space Agency. He is a Fellow of the CSIR, Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, Member of the South African Academy and a foreign associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences. Bob holds an NRF A rating. Bob has been appointed as Professor of Systems Ecology in AP&ES and has been seconded to the Global Change and Sustainability Research Institute.

Professor Coleen Vogel joined GCSRI at the beginning of 2015 from the University of Pretoria where she was a Professor in the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology. She until recently also held a position as a Visiting Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch. She was previously at Wits in GA&ES where she was the holder of the BMW Chair on Sustainability. She is a climatologist by training and has undertaken research in climate change, climate vulnerability and adaptation, with a particular focus on disaster risk reduction and climate variability. She was one of the key contributors to the writing of the Green and White Papers on Disaster Management and also was a major contributing author for the Disaster Management Act. She was one of the Chapter Lead Authors of the Africa Chapter for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report and was also an author of the team for the Synthesis Report for Policy Makers of the 4th IPCC Assessment Report. This team, together with Al Gore, received a Nobel Peace Prize. Coleen was a Chapter Author on Human Security for the 5th IPCC assessment report. She has also been Chair and Vice Chair of international committees (for example, the International Human Dimensions Programme, now known together with other international programmes as Future Earth). She has received an international award, the Burtoni Award, for her work on climate change advocacy and science of climate change adaptation. Her current research interests include transformative education for global environment change and sustainability, climate change in its broader context, adaptation and disaster risk reduction focussing particularly on the interactions between physical and social dimensions shaping change. Coleen has been appointed as a Professor in AP&ES; she will be based in the Global Change and Sustainability Research Institute and teach and supervise students in AP&ES. She is very keen to build links and collaborations with others, particularly in sustainability science.