National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Current Winners


The NSTF-South32 Awards are for outstanding contributions of teams, organisations and individuals to science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation in South Africa.

The announcement of the NSTF-South32 Awards winners will take place at the Awards Gala Dinners on 13 July 2023. Save the date and watch your mailbox for the latest news.

The patron of the Awards, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande is invited to preside over the presentation of the awards. A hybrid live-broadcast from two cities (Johannesburg and Cape Town) is planned for the Awards Gala Event taking place on 13 July 2023. All finalists together with the sponsors will be in attendance. The rest of the community will watch the live-streamed event via the NSTF YouTube platform. Watch your mailbox for news.

Dr Philemon Mjwara – Director-General: Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)

For his significant contribution to the South African National System of Innovation and for the role he played in building strong relations between the DSI (as DST and later as DSI) and the NSTF.


Prof Jonathan Jansen – Distinguished Professor: Education, Stellenbosch University (SU); and President: Academy of Science of South Africa

For a distinguished contribution to the advancement of education scholarship through advanced research and publication, scholarly teaching, innovative university management especially in times of racial disharmony, science leadership, school improvement, educational innovation, capacity development, public engagement, and science advocacy.

Prize sponsor: proSET (Professionals in SET), a sector of the NSTF representing more than 45 professional societies

Prof Novel N Chegou – Professor: Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department (Dept) of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, SU

For a life’s work which has focused mainly on the immunology of tuberculosis and the development of new tools for its management and conducting research on new tests that can assist in the rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis.

Prize sponsor: South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS)

Prof Usisipho Feleni – Associate Professor and Thematic Area Leader: Applied Electrochemistry, Institute for Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability, University of South Africa 

For her contribution in electrochemistry, with emphasis on electro-analytical sensors and biosensors which comprise new chalcogenide-based quantum dot materials, nanoparticles, nanorods and nanocomposites that contain unique and specific features for use in electrochemical sensing and signalling of diseases such as HIV, TB and cancer, as well as monitoring water contamination.


Dr Daniel W Hart – Senior Research Fellow: Zoology and Entomology Dept, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria (UP)

For a contribution which attempts to utilise concepts from evolutionary biology to address biological questions of health, biological, social and economic relevance to humans which focuses on using knowledge of evolutionary biology of mammals to improve treatments of human medical conditions and to predict future consequences of climate change.

Prof Paxie W Chirwa – Chair and Director: Forest Postgraduate Programme, UP

For his contribution, centred on people, to future forestry development in SA and training future foresters, aimed at recognising the importance of communities in proximity to the forest resource in sustainable forest management and use.

Sponsor: Eskom since 2003

Prof Nosipho Moloto – Chair: DSI / National Research Foundation (NRF) / Nedbank South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) in Energy Materials; and Research Professor: Inorganic Chemistry, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits); and Deputy Director: African Research Universities Alliance, Centre of Excellence in Materials, Energy and Nanotechnology, Wits

For her contribution to capacity building through finding simple synthetic methods for semiconductor nanocrystals that can be used as essential components in the development of affordable solutions for the production of clean water, renewable and clean energy, rapid diagnostics of diseases and fast and easy to operate sensors.


Prof Onisimo Mutanga – Professor: Remote Sensing, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN); and DSI/NRF/Nedbank SARChI Chair in Land Use Planning and Management, UKZN

For developing research capacity through the use of remote sensing techniques to support land use management focusing on the development of the science and the application of these techniques for terrestrial ecosystems.

Sponsor: WRC since 2017

Centre for Water Resources Research (CWRR), UKZN Prof Jeff Smithers, Director: CWRR; and Umgeni Water Chair in Water Resources Management, Innovation and Research, School of Engineering, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, UKZN

For providing a centre of excellence for cutting edge applied and interdisciplinary research and postgraduate training in water resources related research and capacity building.

Sponsor: South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)

Prof Salome Maswime – Obstetrician, Gynaecologist and Head: Global Surgery, Dept of Medicine, University of Cape Town (UCT)

For a contribution through pioneering the field of Global Surgery in Africa as part of a drive for greater equity, and access to, much-needed surgical care and finding measures to reduce the maternal mortality from caesarean sections in SA.

Sponsor: Technology Innovation Agency (TIA)

Prof Andrew Thatcher – Professor: Psychology Dept, School of Human and Community Development, Wits

For his work on extending our understanding of Human Factors Ergonomics or “green ergonomics” to consider the entire Earth system, which has included theoretical developments, empirical investigations, and systematic reviews of the impact of these activities leading to mutually supportive human-natural environment systems.

Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (FBIS) Team, Freshwater Research Centre (FRC) and Kartoza Dr Helen Dallas, Executive Director: FRC; and Team Leader: FBIS

For the development of a powerful, open-access system for hosting, analysing and serving freshwater biodiversity data for SA, in order to facilitate freshwater decision-making.

Sponsor: National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) since 2019

LignOrganic Mr Tshepo Mangoele, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder

Through their revolutionary biomass conversion technology, their company is helping to replace chemicals derived from fossil fuels with biochemicals such as lignin, which they produce, and has successfully formulated and commercialised as a skin care brand.


Pegasus Universal Aerospace Team Dr Mohamed Reza Mia, Chairman and Founder

For the design and development of a vertical take-off and landing aircraft which it is envisaged should create between 7 000 and 11 000 new jobs and the development of the necessary skills locally.

Prof Roger Deane Director: Centre for Astrophysics, Wits; and Wits Digital Dome Working Group; DSI/NRF SARChI Chair in Radio Astronomy

For the achievement of R75million digital upgrade of the Johannesburg Planetarium into a flagship science and technology engagement facility, where he has shared cutting-edge, clearly communicated astrophysics research with the public on a national stage, in combination with leading the communications and fundraising campaign.

Community Keepers Mr Gerrit Laning, (CEO) 

For their project to enhance resilience and promote mental health and well-being amongst SA learners, their parents, teachers and community through socio-emotional learning opportunities, therapeutic counselling, referrals, support groups and resilience-building workshops free of charge.

Prof Andrew Green Professor: Marine Geology, UKZN; and Visiting Professor: University of Ulster, Northern Ireland

For excellence in marine geoscience research which forms the key to unlocking the blue economies of the world’s oceans and protecting our coastlines from the effects of climate change.

NSTF-South32 Awards


The NSTF welcomes collaboration with other organisations, such as those they have been in partnerships with for many years:

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