Pontsho Maruping was recently nominated to chair the Scientific and Technical Committee of the United Nation’s Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Pontsho holds a Masters in Space Systems Engineering from Delft University of Technology and an Executive Masters in Business Administration from IMD in Switzerland.
She started her career in the mining industry working for De Beers and Anglo American. During South Africa’s transition to democracy, she joined the Department of Science and Technology (DST) keen to contribute to rebuilding the science system. At the DST she led various initiatives including championing the establishment of the South African National Space Agency, Co-chairing the Science and Technology Committee of the Group on Earth Observations, Chairing the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites and serving on the South African Council for Space Affairs for more than 7 years.
Her passion for technology commercialisation was ignited when she joined the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) as an executive, where she eventually became responsible for a portfolio of more than 160 investments in ICT, Energy, Advanced Manufacturing, Natural resources, Agricultural biotechnology and Health. During her time at TIA, Pontsho introduced a new ‘seed’ fund targeted at supporting early stage technology ideas at universities and start-ups looking for less than half a million rand to prepare them for further funding. Since joining SKA over a year ago, she has introduced an internal entrepreneurship initiative to support employees with innovative ideas on a journey to commercialisation.