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Ms Rizwana Mia
Senior Programme Manager: Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships -NCD/Precision Medicine; COVID; ERA-PerMED; South African Lead Investigator-EU- AFRICA PerMed
Contact Info
Tel: +27 21 938 0984

Rizwana Mia joined the SAMRC in February 2015. She is responsible for developing the South African Precision Medicine program and incorporating the South African Precision Medicine Think Tank. She has spearheaded strategic partnerships in creating programmatic research as well as core infrastructure to enable and position South Africa in the area of precision medicine. From 2017-2020: She conceptualized the business plan, secured funding, designed and established the SAMRC Genomics Centre which launched on the 29 July 2019. The Centre boasts a large-scale high through-put workflow to localize large scale human genome sequencing studies on the African Continent. She currently serves as a member to:  

  • The KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform (KRISP) Advisory Board
  • The SAMRC Genomics Centre Steering Committee  and
  • The Life Science Economy Alliance Board of the China Belt and Road Program.
  • The SAMRC Genomics Ethics Sub-committee working group. 
  • SAMRC Lead investigator on the European -Africa Personalized Medicine Consortium (EU-Africa PerMed), to drive the ecosystem development of the Personalized Medicine Agenda for Africa.   

She also serves on local and international review committees such as the European Research Area Network and has helped SAMRC integrate into the International Consortium for Personalized Medicine (ICPerMed). Rizwana has focused undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in genetics and experience in product development. Her prior experience culminates through various roles spent at the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). She began her career establishing a local start-up company called the Institute of Diagnostics Research, where she spent 4 years establishing a facility, developing and producing monoclonal antibodies in-vitro. She played a further role as a Senior Investment Specialist focusing on building the TIA Health Innovation investment portfolio- conducting technical and commercial due diligence to invest in core technology start-ups in the health innovation space. She has also served as a board member in key successful start-up companies due to her significant experience in the South African National System of Innovation. She served as interim project manager on the Western Cape Regional Innovation Forum to devise a roadmap for a regional innovation framework. She played a key role in strategic tri-government projects such the Cape Health Technology Park Feasibility study. This focused on innovation park models to develop a relevant cluster-based innovation ecosystem. Furthermore, she has played an instrumental role in unpacking the vaccines and biological landscape and has contributed significantly to key biotechnology strategies. Rizwana continues to strive toward enabling new initiatives in South Africa and is currently focused on further development of the South African Precision Medicine Ecosystem.