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About us

DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (CoE-MaSS)


The DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (CoE-MaSS) was established on 1st April 2014 in order bring together areas of research excellence in the Mathematical Sciences and Statistics in South Africa.

Host Institution
University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)

Prof Fazal M Mahomed (Wits)

Founding Nodes
* North-West University (NWU) - Leader: Prof Louis Labuschagne
* University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) - Leader: Prof Paranjothi Pillay
* University of Pretoria (UP) - Leader: Prof Michael Chapwanya
* University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) - Leader: Mrs Yoko Chhana
Collaborating Nodes
* African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (Cape Town) – Leader: Prof Barry Green
* Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
* Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – Leader: Prof Regina Maphanga
* Durban University of Technology (DUT) – Leader: Prof Kevin Duffy
* Nelson Mandela University (NMU) – Leader: Prof Gary Sharp
* Rhodes University (RU) – Leader: Prof Denis Pollney
* Stellenbosch University – Leader: Prof Andre Weideman
* University of Cape Town (UCT) - Leader: Prof David Erwin
* University of the Free State (UFS)
* University of Johannesburg (UJ) – Leader: Dr Vivien Visaya
* University of Limpopo (UL) – Leader: Dr Khehla Moloi
* University of South Africa (UNISA) – Leader: Prof Inderasan Naidoo
* University of Venda – Leader: Prof Winston Garira
* University of the Western Cape – Leader: Prof Justin Munyakazi
* University of Zululand (UniZulu) – Leader: Dr Syamala Krishnannair
Node agreements in progess:
* Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT)
* Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) – Leader: Dr Maggie Aphane
Subsidiary Nodes
* Institute of Certificated and Chartered Statisticians of South Africa (ICCSSA)  
* South African Statistical Association (SASA)
* South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) – Siyanqoba Programme: Dr Belinda Huntley
Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association (SAMSA)
* South African Mathematical Society (SAMS)


About Us


The DSI-NRF CoE-MaSS is managed on a day-to-day basis by a Management Committee. The Man/Co meets via electronic means (emails and videoconferences) as frequently as is required to address day-to-day running and management matters. Due to the nature of the management and administrative functions of the Centre taking place at the admin hub at Wits University, the Man/Co is comprised of Wits staff. It is, however, important to note that the Man/Co frequently call on the other three external Founding Node Leaders for assistance with funding decisions to ensure that the wider partners are also consulted on matters of importance.

Ex officio Members

CoE-MaSS Director Chairperson (Prof Fazal Mahomed)
CoE-MaSS Assistant Director (Dr Ashleigh Hutchinson) 
CoE-MaSS Manager (Ms Caryn McNamara) 
Dean of the Faculty of Science (Prof Nithaya Chetty)
Business Manager of the Faculty of Science (Ms Cate Mukansi) 

Co-opted Members, as required

Ms Yoko Chhana (Wits node leader)
Prof Louis Labuschagne (NWU node leader) 
Prof Michael Chapwanya (UP node leader) 
Prof Bernardo Rodrigues (UP)


The DSI-NRF CoE-MaSS is governed by a Steering Committee (formerly known as the Advisory Board). The Steer/Co meets twice a year, and consists of ex officio, founding node leaders, and external individual members: 

Ex officio Members
Wits’ DVC Research Chairperson (Professor João Rodrigues)
CoE-MaSS Director (Prof Fazal Mahomed)
CoE-MaSS Assistant Director (Dr Ashleigh Hutchinson)
CoE-MaSS Manager (Ms Caryn McNamara)
Dean of the Faculty of Science (Prof Nithaya Chetty)
Wits Director of Research Development (Dr Robin Drennan)
DSI representative (Dr Rose Msiza)
NRF representative (Dr Makobetsa Khati)
Founding Node Leaders
Mrs Yoko Chhana (Wits node leader)
Prof Louis Labuschagne (NWU node leader)
Prof Michael Chapwanya (UP node leader)
Prof Paranjothi Pillay (UKZN node leader)
External MaSS Experts
Prof Daya Reddy (UCT, RSA)
Prof Kerstin Jordaan (SAMS)
Prof Wen-Xiu Ma (USF, USA) in absentia
Prof Peter Sarnak (Princeton University, USA) in absentia