Nansen-Tutu Centre



The Nansen-Tutu Centre is named in honour of the Nobel Peace Laureates Desmond Tutu and Fridtjof Nansen


The vision of the Nansen-Tutu Centre for Marine Environmental Research is to serve Africa through advancing knowledge of the marine environment and climate system in the spirit of Nobel Peace Laureates Desmond Tutu and Fridtjof Nansen.


The Nansen Environmental Centre in Norway and South African partners have set up a joint venture in South Africa, directed by a South African, and have employed staff and are building capacity locally. A Board of four South Africans and four Norwegians will oversee the programme. The Nansen-Tutu Centre is based in Cape Town and operates as a programme complementing the developing South African marine research framework. SABC 2 – Launch of Nansen-Tutu Center – click here to view! The activities are run by 6 scientists and students, 3 funded by Norway and 3 from South African sources, under the management and financial control of UCT.

From the foundation ceremony of the Nansen-Tutu Centre for Marine Environmental Research in Cape
Town in May 2010. First row from the left: Prof Berit Rokne, Achbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu and
Prof George Philander. Second row from the left: Ambassador Tor Chr. Hildan, Prof Johnny A.
Johannessen, Prof Frank Shillington, Dr Neville Sweijd, Mr Hans Erstad, Prof John Field and
Dr Lasse Pettersson.


Africa juts into the Indian, South Atlantic and Southern Oceans with cool and warm oceans juxtaposed, giving rise to unique marine and land ecosystems with high biodiversity, rich fisheries and superb natural resources. It is therefore important that we develop the capacity for understanding and predicting the state of the ocean and its ecosystems as the meteorological services do for the weather. The Founding Partners have complementary expertise and knowledge to address these challenges.


To improve the capacity to observe, understand and predict marine ecosystem variability on timescales from days to decades in support of scientific and societal needs including fisheries, coastal management, maritime security, recreation and tourism. To this end, one of the core activities at the Centre will focus on education and exchange of young researchers and students from different cultures and countries through the Nansen-Tutu Scholarship Program.



  • Prof J.G. Field, Ma-Re Institute (Chair)
  • Prof J.A Johannessen, NERSC (Co-Chair)
  • Dr N. Sweijd, ACCESS
  • Dr Stewart Bernard, CSIR
  • Prof N.G. Kvamstø, Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen
  • Prof G. Philander, Princeton University.
  • Prof O.M. Johannessen, Nansen Scientific Society
  • Asmund Bjorndal, IMR, Bergen, Norway
  • Dr Jonas Mphepya (pending), Oceans and Coasts, Dept. Environmental Affairs
  • Johann Stander, SA Weather Service (alternate, Santjie du Toit)
  • Dr Juliet Hermes, South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON)
  • Dr Francis Marsac (ICEMASA)