Vice-Chairperson and Director

Dr Christa van Zyl
Dr Christa van ZylVice-Chairperson and Director
Pretoria, South Africa

Dr Christa van Zyl is a non-executive member serving as vice-chairperson on the EthiXPERT Board of Directors. With a PhD in Education and a Master’s in Business Administration, she gained experience in many areas of research, research administration, as well as grant application and management in a career spanning many years. Before her retirement in 2020, she was employed at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in South Africa, and gained experience as researcher, research administrator and research manager. Her managerial role at the HSRC covered support for research coordination, institutional performance planning and reporting, as well as research ethics and integrity.

In terms of national and international contributions, Christa served as National Contact Point (NCP) for socio-economic and humanities research opportunities in the context of the EU seventh Framework programme for research (EUFP7) from 2007 until 2013. In 2014, she was one of two South Africans appointed as members of an international Expert Group under the auspices of the OECD Global Science Forum, to provide advice on research ethics and new forms of data for social and economic research. She was also a member of the Advisory Panel of the Sixth World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) which was held in Hong Kong in June 2019, and delivered a plenary presentation at the event. She currently serves on the steering committee of the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR) of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and as a member of the interim steering committee of the African Research Integrity Network (ARIN).

Christa was the Principal Investigator (PI) of a multi-year International Extramural Associates Research Development Award (IEARDA) received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2009. She became the first person appointed as Research Integrity Officer (RIO) of the HSRC to comply with requirements set by the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and gained practical experience in policy development, training and awareness-raising, as well as in dealing with enquiries. She remains keen to learn from and with others who share an interest in the promotion of research ethics and integrity, especially in a context where principles derived from the biomedical sciences need to be interpreted and applied to social sciences and humanities research.

Recent relevant publications:

Rossouw TM, Van Zyl C & Pope A. (2014) Responsible conduct of research: Global trends, local opportunities. South African Journal of Science 110(1/2), Art. #2013-0103, 6 pages. (Peer-reviewed journal article: Co-author)

Lötter, L & Van Zyl, C (2015) Reflections on a data curation journey. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics 10(3) 338 –343, DOI: 10.1177/15562646155928464 (Peer-reviewed journal article: Co-author)

OECD Global Science Forum. (2016) Research Ethics and New Forms of Data for Social and Economic Research, OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers, No. 34, (Technical report: Member of expert group and author of sections of report)

Van Zyl C., Kombe F., Okonta P., Rossouw T. (2019) Promoting Research Integrity and Avoiding Misconduct – Perspectives on and from Africa. In: Nortjé N., Visagie R., Wessels J. (eds) Social Science Research Ethics in Africa. Research Ethics Forum, vol 7. Springer, Cham DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-15402-8_11. (Book chapter: First author)

Rossouw, T.M., Matsau, L. & Van Zyl, C. (2020) An analysis of retracted articles with authors or co-authors from the African region: possible implications for training and awareness raising. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics. October: Online. (Peer-reviewed journal article: Co-author)