Thandi is a research and innovation leader currently serving in the South African Higher Education sector. After a postdoctoral research period, she worked at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as an early career scientist, and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) responsible for capacity development. In 2008, she joined the National Research Foundation as Director for Human Capacity Development and later as Executive Director for DST-NRF Research Chairs Initiative and Centres of Excellence, the national flagship programmes of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
Thandi is currently Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement at Tshwane University of Technology. Before joining TUT, she was Professor and Head of Research at the University of the Western Cape.
Nationally, she has been actively involved in the conceptualization of national funding approaches as a member of the Executive of the NRF. Thandi's science diplomacy skills and insightful knowledge of the SA National System of Innovation (NSI) led to being nominated and invited to represent the country at many international forums such as the World Science Forum; the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the European Open Science Forum and others. Her insightful knowledge of the Science and Education landscape and experience in Education, has led to being appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as a Ministerial task team member in policy interventions. In addition, she is a lead investigator of a Council on Higher Education (CHE)’s National Project on review of doctoral studies in South Africa. In 2017, she served as co-chair of the World Sustainability Forum 2017.
She is acknowledged as a leader in research and innovation management. Thandi serves as a role model in society and humbled to be a source of inspiration to many aspiring and emerging leaders. She possesses the ability to transcend the divide from civil society, students, academics, administrators and policy makers, with a passion for science communication for impact.