Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh a Plant Molecular Biologist
Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh (nee Masubelele) hails from one of the historic townships in South Africa, Mamelodi in Tshwane. She is a Plant Molecular Biologist with a PhD degree from the University of Cambridge, Magdalene College UK, and is currently the Chairperson of the NRF Board and a Commissioner in the Presidential Commission on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Before joining the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) as the head of the Innovation Support and Protection Division, she was the Chief Executive Officer of AfricaBio, a Biotechnology stakeholder association. Furthermore, Dr Obokoh has worked in West Africa heading the 1st satellite office (in Abuja, Nigeria) of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), a non-for profit international organization, with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. She oversaw and managed innovative public-private partnership programmes, involving access to and the development of proprietary and regulated agricultural technologies for small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Nompumelelo has also worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Cambridge where she deployed novel and high throughput technologies to decode the molecular mechanisms controlling plant growth in order to enhance agricultural productivity. Nompumelelo has more than 15 years local and international experience in Biotech research & development, management and advocacy. She has led a number of strategic agricultural biotech initiatives addressing food security, climate change & poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on small-scale farmer (especially women and youth farmers) empowerment. Dr Obokoh has received a number of awards and accolades, including the GDARD’s Biotech communicator Award, Topco Media – Top 1000 Woman in Business and Government, the Mandela Cambridge Scholarship, Mandela Magdalene College Award, Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Society. She has also received competitive research grants from the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the NRF/Royal Society (UK) for the South Africa-UK Science Networks to establish and extend collaboration with UK partners. She also offered the Rothamstead International – African Fellowship that enabled her to foster mission-oriented research with world-renowned scientists in Aberystwyth, Wales.