/ 31 July 2023

Glenda Gray steps down from South African Medical Research Council

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South African Medical Research Council president and chief executive Glenda Gray is stepping down to take up a full-time scientific role.

South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) president and chief executive Glenda Gray is stepping down to take up a full-time scientific role.

The SAMRC announced that Gray’s tenure comes to a close after 10 years.

“Professor Gray, alongside an exceptional senior executive team, has achieved significant milestones including five consecutive clean audits, transformative grant funding initiatives that have greatly improved support for young scientists, black African scientists, and women, as well as the establishment of vital collaborations and partnerships that will advance scientific research,” the council said.

Board chairperson Johnny Mahlangu said he was grateful for Gray’s efforts in resource mobilisation, initiation and maintenance of collaborative research, and her commitment to confronting transformation in medical science.

“In her forthcoming full-time science role, Professor Gray will leverage her extensive experience to deliver impactful scientific outcomes. Her focus will primarily be on conducting research in HIV vaccines and other areas of vaccinology to develop new vaccines that address pressing health challenges on the African continent.” 

The council said Gray intends to continue fostering partnerships locally and internationally to advance medical science and research in South Africa.

Gray said she was grateful for the opportunity to lead the organisation and serve the country and scientific community and remained committed to serving the medical research community.

The council said it would now start the process of appointing a new president and chief executive, “ensuring a seamless transition when Professor Gray’s term concludes next year”.

Gray is the first female president and chief executive of the council and served as the chairperson of the research committee on Covid-19, bringing scientific evidence and experience to the health minister and the National Coronavirus Command Council.

She studied medicine and paediatrics at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she remains a full professor of research at the School of Clinical Medicine. 

As a National Research Foundation A1-rated scientist, Gray is world-renowned for her work on HIV vaccines and interventions to prevent mother-to-child transmissions. 

She is co-principal Investigator of the National Institutes of Health-funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network and directs the programme in Africa.

In 2013, she was awarded South Africa’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe.
Forbes named Gray one of Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women and Time named her as one of the world’s 100 Most Influential people.