The institutional structure for the TsamaHUB is a Centre at Stellenbosch University (SU) located in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. The Centre is an academic structure established to facilitate and coordinate the Doctoral Programme as well as to engage all the relevant knowledge-holding stakeholders with a view to conduct applied solution-based sustainability research in the Stellenbosch area. The governance and management of the TsamaHUB is conducted by its Governing Body and Management Committee respectively. The Governing Body is chaired by the Dean: Economics and Management Sciences and consists of representatives of all the participating faculties as well as representatives of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Sustainability Institute (SI).
The TsamaHUB acts as a coordinating mechanism that utilizes the transdisciplinary potential that exists among various faculties and departments of the University that have interests and expertise in sustainability, sustainable development and complexity. In this regard, collaboration with existing Centres, such as the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) led by Prof Wikus van Niekerk (Mechanical Engineering) as well as the Centre for Studies in Complexity, (CSC), initiated by Profs Jannie Hofmeyr (Biochemistry) and Paul Cilliers (Philosophy), are of particular importance. The TsamaHUB, with partners such as the CSIR, HSRC and the SI, also serves to optimize the interface and flow of intellectual, human and financial resources between the University and its partners as well as other institutions that may be interested in joining this initiative in future.
The TsamaHUB was initially conceptualised in late 2005 as a result of joint discussions between academics and researchers from a variety of disciplines within the University, the CSIR, HSRC and SI. A key Workshop on Transdisciplinarity co-funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the University’s Strategic Fund took place in 2005 at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), hosted by the University’s School of Public Management and Planning (SOPMP). The keynote presenters at this workshop were renowned transdisciplinary economist Prof. Manfred Max-Neef (Chile) and quantum physicist Prof. Basarab Nicolescu (France). The discussions at this workshop, plus the wider subsequent discussions led to the joint realisation that what is needed is to seek more effective ways of achieving sustainable development impact through the country’s National System of Innovation Chain (DST). The outcome of these discussions has been the establishment of a well-connected network of academics at SU spread out across several different faculties who all share a common interest in sustainability research, complexity theory, and transdisciplinary ways of working. This core group of academics have established themselves as a Panel of Supervisors, which plays a crucial role in the co-supervision of PhD students’ dissertations as part of the Doctoral Programme.