Following his role as Programme Manager in the Division for Microelectronics and Communications Technology at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and later his role as Director Research & Development of the Süd-Chemie Group (now Clariant), based initially in Germany and then later in the United States, Professor Fletcher returned to his alma mater UCT to assume the role as Director of the then Catalysis Research Unit – a grouping at the time of roughly 25 staff and students. Under his guidance, the group grew, initially being formally upgraded to a Centre of the University in 2006, and then to an Institute of the University in 2013 – to the vibrant research entity it is today – with some 100 staff and students, spanning many research fields in catalysis, hosting a national Centre of Excellence and a joint Centre of Competence, and two SARCHi Chairs, and from which multiple spin-out companies of the University have been initiated.
In 2004, Jack was the visionary of the founding and development of one of the six initial Centres of Excellence (c*change), a programme that he initially Directed until handing over in 2007 and which has outlasted its initial expected lifespan. In 2007, he again was instrumental in the founding and set-up of a new jointly hosted Centre of Competence in Hydrogen & Fuel Cells (HySA/Catalysis), a programme that is going strong to this day. These programmes were instrumental in bringing various catalysis practitioners together under common visions – c*change bringing hetero-, homo- and bio- catalysis researchers from 10 Universities in South Africa together, and later HySA, which saw the inclusion to a far greater extent on electrocatalysis. These endeavours have had a huge impact on the South African catalysis fraternity and have in turn, in no small part, lead to the significant increase in prominence of the national Society.