Strong networks and winner of prestigious awards for research, innovation, and leadership
Prof Oberholster is the Director: Centre for Environmental Management at the UFS. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the UFS before obtaining a PhD in water resource management at the University of Pretoria.
After several years in secondary education, Prof Oberholster started his scientific research career as a Senior Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 2007.
In 2017, he became a Chief Scientist (the highest scientific position at the CSIR and senior management), managing large multidisciplinary projects on the African continent related to integrated water resource management and natural-based treatment solutions/ecological engineering.
During his time at the CSIR, he acted as extraordinary professor and lecturer in several academic departments at different institutions, including Stellenbosch University, the University of Pretoria, and the University of the Western Cape.
During the same time, he received several prestigious awards for research, innovation, and leadership. In 2019, Prof Oberholster joined the UFS as Director of the Centre for Environmental Management and also received the National Science and Technology Foundation (NSTF) award in the category Water Research Commission, with a focus on natural-based passive phyco-remediation and phytoremediation treatment technology.
In 2022, he was elected as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) in recognition of his academic achievements in South Africa, and in 2023, he was appointed as the Managing Director of the Ecological Engineering Institute of Africa (EEIA).
Rated among top 2% in the world in the scientific category of engineering/technology, ecological engineering and environmental engineering
Currently, Prof Oberholster is rated among the top 2% in the world in the scientific category of engineering/technology, ecological engineering, and environmental engineering.
“Prof Oberholster has an extensive and impressive international research standing and has established extensive networks and partnerships.
“He can lead and manage the faculty to support the UFS Vision 130’s ultimate intent for the coming years to be a research-led, student-centred, and regionally engaged university,” says Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Vice-Chancellor and Principal.
“It is a privilege to be part of the leadership team in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences – we will ensure that the faculty is known nationally and internationally as an excellent faculty serving our community.
“We aim to consolidate and build on the university’s strengths to extend its excellence in research, teaching and learning, which is embedded in the UFS Vision 130,” says Prof Oberholster.
Prof Oberholster will succeed the current Dean, Prof Danie Vermeulen, who will retire at the end of December 2023.