UJ Institute for the Future of Knowledge

Research Groups

The IFK focuses on seven themes, each championed by a research group: Blockchain and the Cryptoverse (BC), Data Science across Disciplines (DSAD), Decentralised Artificial Intelligence and Control Systems (DAICS), the Future of Diplomacy (FoD), the Future of Health (FoH), Green Futures (GF) and Work of the Future (WoF).

The Future of
Health

Professor Arthur Mutambara

The Future of Health Research Group takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding humanity’s efforts to improve health and deal with sickness to improve future medical and public health initiatives. The Group’s broad mandate includes philosophical, sociological, anthropological, and other disciplinary approaches, and covers clinical medicine, public health, epidemiology, biomedical research, and other health knowledge. The Group investigates existing medical crises and the management thereof. It seeks to critique the potential medical techniques and strategies of the future, such as the application of AI in Medicine.

Africans must have total collective agency in all matters of public health on the continent. To enable this agenda, the FoH is incubating the African Agency in Public Health Institute (AAPHI). AAPHI is based on the premise that Africans must be in control of their contextually grounded, well-designed and efficacious healthcare systems. They must fully participate in the entire medicine value chain from investment, research & development, clinical trials, manufacturing, distribution and delivery to citizens. This requires enhanced pharmaceutical and bio-tech capabilities across the continent. Africans must have world-class medical, science and technology institutions across the continent – centres of undisputed and demonstrable excellence. Continental, regional, and national health policies must be driven by wellness (preventative) and not disease management (curative). The best way to achieve these aspirations is an Africa-wide strategy leveraging the economies of scale gained through continental integration and African unity, anchored by the African Diaspora. All this should be enhanced by partnerships – on African terms – of the continent as one entity with partners from the Global North and South.

A starting point for AAPHI is establishing the requirements, conditions and strategy necessary for all vaccines and medicines consumed in Africa to be products of research, development and manufacturing on the continent. The next step is executing this strategy.

The FoH Group contributes toward the attainment of SDG 3: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.

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Our People

Pushpendra Kumar

Research Associate

Pushpendra Kumar is a young mathematician from India. He holds a Doctorate from the Central University of Punjab, Bathinda. He has published nearly 50 research papers in more than 20 reputed international journals and is listed among the world's top 2% scientists in2023 as announced by Elsevier and Stanford University. His research works are related to the mathematical modelling of various real-world problems, fractional calculus, and computational methods. More specifically, Dr Kumar has done novel work on the modelling of infectious diseases. He is a reviewer for several international journals.

Pushpendra Kumar

Research Associate

Jabulani Sibande

Research Assistant

Jabulani Sibande is a Research Assistant at the Institute for the Future of Knowledge. He holds a bachelors degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand and an honours degree in African Studies from the University of Johannesburg. His honours project was on the Democratic Development State Model in African States focusing on Rwanda and South Africa. Mr Sibande is interested in the African debate on political economy and development, as well as policy-making processes on the continent.

Jabulani Sibande

Research Assistant

Arthur Mutambara

Director and Full Professor

Professor Arthur Mutambara is the Director and Full Professor of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge (IFK) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). He is a world-renowned roboticist, academic, author, Pan-Africanist and technology strategist. Professor Mutambara is also the Director of IFK’s Decentralised Artificial Intelligence and Control Systems (DAICS) Research Group and drives the African Agency in Public Health (AAPH) initiative within the Future of Health (FoH) Research Group. He is the Former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. Mutambara was one of the three Principals who created and led the Government of National Unity (GNU) from 2009 to 2013. The other two were Prime Minister Tsvangirai and President Mugabe. He is the author of a new trilogy (three books): In Search of the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream: An Autobiography of Thought Leadership. Mutambara has also published two Electrical Engineering books used extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia. He has worked as a Research Scientist at NASA, a Visiting Professor at MIT, and a Managing Consultant with McKinsey & Company, all in the United States. At UJ, Mutambara has taught Control Systems in both the Mechanical Engineering and Electrical & Electronic Engineering Departments, where he has received outstanding reviews from both students and peers. He has conducted Engineering seminars and public lectures across the continent and globally. Prof Mutambara is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), a Professional Engineer, a Fellow of the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers (ZIE), a Fellow of the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences (ZAS), a Senior Member of IEEE and a WEF Young Global Leader. Professor Mutambara holds a PhD in Robotics and Mechatronics (1995) and an MSc in Computer Engineering (1992), both from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Electrical Engineering (1990) from the University of Zimbabwe.

Arthur Mutambara

Director and Full Professor

Oluwaseun Tella

Head of the Future of Diplomacy

Dr Oluwaseun Tella is the Head of the Future of Diplomacy at the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for the Future of Knowledge in South Africa. He holds a doctorate in Political Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He has authored a book entitled Africa’s Soft Power: Philosophies, Political Values, Foreign Policies and Cultural Exports (Routledge, 2021); edited three books entitled Nigeria-South Africa Relations and Regional Hegemonic Competence (Springer, 2019), From Ivory Towers to Ebony Towers: Transforming Humanities Curricula in South Africa, Africa and African-American Studies (Jacana, 2020), and A Sleeping Giant? Nigeria’s Domestic and International Politics in the Twenty-First Century (Springer, 2021); and published over 30 mostly single-authored book chapters and journal articles in Politikon, Social Dynamics, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Journal of Black Studies and elsewhere. His research interests include soft power, international relations, peace and conflict studies, African politics and knowledge production in Africa. Email: otella@uj.ac.za.

Oluwaseun Tella

Head of the Future of Diplomacy

Pushpendra Kumar

Research Associate

Pushpendra Kumar is a young mathematician from India. He holds a Doctorate from the Central University of Punjab, Bathinda. He has published nearly 50 research papers in more than 20 reputed international journals and is listed among the world's top 2% scientists in2023 as announced by Elsevier and Stanford University. His research works are related to the mathematical modelling of various real-world problems, fractional calculus, and computational methods. More specifically, Dr Kumar has done novel work on the modelling of infectious diseases. He is a reviewer for several international journals.

Pushpendra Kumar

Research Associate

Jabulani Sibande

Research Assistant

Jabulani Sibande is a Research Assistant at the Institute for the Future of Knowledge. He holds a bachelors degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand and an honours degree in African Studies from the University of Johannesburg. His honours project was on the Democratic Development State Model in African States focusing on Rwanda and South Africa. Mr Sibande is interested in the African debate on political economy and development, as well as policy-making processes on the continent.

Jabulani Sibande

Research Assistant

Arthur Mutambara

Director and Full Professor

Professor Arthur Mutambara is the Director and Full Professor of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge (IFK) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). He is a world-renowned roboticist, academic, author, Pan-Africanist and technology strategist. Professor Mutambara is also the Director of IFK’s Decentralised Artificial Intelligence and Control Systems (DAICS) Research Group and drives the African Agency in Public Health (AAPH) initiative within the Future of Health (FoH) Research Group. He is the Former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. Mutambara was one of the three Principals who created and led the Government of National Unity (GNU) from 2009 to 2013. The other two were Prime Minister Tsvangirai and President Mugabe. He is the author of a new trilogy (three books): In Search of the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream: An Autobiography of Thought Leadership. Mutambara has also published two Electrical Engineering books used extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia. He has worked as a Research Scientist at NASA, a Visiting Professor at MIT, and a Managing Consultant with McKinsey & Company, all in the United States. At UJ, Mutambara has taught Control Systems in both the Mechanical Engineering and Electrical & Electronic Engineering Departments, where he has received outstanding reviews from both students and peers. He has conducted Engineering seminars and public lectures across the continent and globally. Prof Mutambara is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), a Professional Engineer, a Fellow of the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers (ZIE), a Fellow of the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences (ZAS), a Senior Member of IEEE and a WEF Young Global Leader. Professor Mutambara holds a PhD in Robotics and Mechatronics (1995) and an MSc in Computer Engineering (1992), both from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Electrical Engineering (1990) from the University of Zimbabwe.

Arthur Mutambara

Director and Full Professor

Oluwaseun Tella

Head of the Future of Diplomacy

Dr Oluwaseun Tella is the Head of the Future of Diplomacy at the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for the Future of Knowledge in South Africa. He holds a doctorate in Political Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He has authored a book entitled Africa’s Soft Power: Philosophies, Political Values, Foreign Policies and Cultural Exports (Routledge, 2021); edited three books entitled Nigeria-South Africa Relations and Regional Hegemonic Competence (Springer, 2019), From Ivory Towers to Ebony Towers: Transforming Humanities Curricula in South Africa, Africa and African-American Studies (Jacana, 2020), and A Sleeping Giant? Nigeria’s Domestic and International Politics in the Twenty-First Century (Springer, 2021); and published over 30 mostly single-authored book chapters and journal articles in Politikon, Social Dynamics, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Journal of Black Studies and elsewhere. His research interests include soft power, international relations, peace and conflict studies, African politics and knowledge production in Africa. Email: otella@uj.ac.za.

Oluwaseun Tella

Head of the Future of Diplomacy

Publications