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National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Role Models – Professionals

2022

Vuwani Science Resource Centre

For the substantial impact the Centre makes on public awareness of science, engineering and technology (SET).

This Award recognises a communicator who has made a substantial impact on public awareness of SET. It was awarded to Dr Nnditshedzeni Eric Maluta, coordinator at the Vuwani Science Resource Centre, in 2022. He was instrumental in developing the Centre in the Vhembe district that focuses on education outreach programmes to previously disadvantaged people. 

2022

CodeMakers

For his conception and implementation of SuperScientists, living scientists drawn as superheroes who educate and inspire young people across SA.

The Award is made for any non-governmental organisation which has made an outstanding contribution to science, engineering and technology (SET) and innovation in South Africa over the last 5 to 10 years. CodeMakers started in 2015 as an NGO to bring the hands-on approach to science education and has grown in reach and impact ever since. 

2022

Network for Genomics Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA)

For their ground-breaking work with SARS-CoV-2.

A team of scientists at the Network for Genomics Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA) won the 2022 Data for Research Award for their ground-breaking work with SARS-CoV-2. The Co-Founders of NGS-SA are Dr Jinal Bhiman, Scientific Lead: Global Immunology and Immune Sequencing for Epidemic Response South Africa (GIISER-SA); and Prof Tulio de Oliveira, Professor: Bioinformatics, School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, Stellenbosch University (SU). The team consists of virologists, scientists, bioinformaticians and clinicians and is responsible for the discovery of both the Beta and Omicron variants of the virus. 

2022

Mining Positron Emission Tomography (MinPET)

For the online sensor-based detection process that draws on nuclear and medical technology to find diamonds inside kimberlite rock.

The Mining Positron Emission Tomography (MinPET) project draws on nuclear and medical technology to find diamonds inside kimberlite rock, and is an online sensor-based detection process. Professor Simon Connell’s participation (for South Africa) in the ATLAS Experiment at CERN led to this innovation. The team, under leadership of Prof Connell; and the Department of Mechanical Engineering Science, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, University of Johannesburg (UJ) won the Innovation Award: Corporate Organisations in 2022.  

2022

Thermtron Scientific CC

For transitioning multiple mineral-processing and green technologies through all innovation stages, from laboratory through to pilots to commercially viable projects.

Award sponsor: National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) since 2019

Thermtron Scientific CC, with Sponsor and Manager Dr Jacobus (Kokkie) Swanepoel, won the Innovation Award for a Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) in 2022. Over the past 10 years, Dr Swanepoel and Thermtron Scientific CC have transitioned multiple mineral-processing and green technologies through all innovation stages, from laboratory through to pilots to commercially viable projects. The work done by this SMME has played a significant role in generating revenue and opportunities for the South African economy.

2022

Prof Evans Chirwa

For introducing the use of biological analogues in advanced water treatment and water recovery with applications in metal-halide heterogeneous photocatalysis in South Africa.

Prof Evans Chirwa, Professor and Rand Water Research Chair: Water Utilisation at the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Pretoria, received the 2022 NSTF-Water Research Commission Award for introducing the use of biological analogues in advanced water treatment and water recovery with applications in metal-halide heterogeneous photocatalysis in South Africa. His latest contribution was in the treatment of organic pollutants using synthesised photocatalytic nanomaterials.

2022

Prof Guy Midgley

For his contribution to the understanding of the risks of climate change to endemic biodiversity and ecosystems, both nationally and globally.

Prof Guy Midgley, Head of the Global Change Biology Group at Stellenbosch University received the 2022 NSTF-South32 Green Economy Award for his contribution over two decades to the understanding of the risks of climate change to endemic biodiversity and ecosystems, both nationally and globally. He developed response options through modelling as well as critical field and controlled environment trials; and is committed to communicate these issues to the public. 

2022

Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela

For being pivotal in establishing the Innovation Hub’s Biotech Incubator.

Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela, Chief Executive Officer of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), won the NSTF Management Award for being pivotal in establishing the Innovation Hub’s Biotech Incubator. She was instrumental in authorising a number of COVID-19 diagnostic tests, vaccines and therapies to ensure the regulator was an enabler during the pandemic.

2022

Prof Sehliselo Ndlovu

For her work as a hydrometallurgical engineer, focused on ensuring a sustainable future supply of metals through improved processes and capacity.

Professor Sehliselo Ndlovu, Professor of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand received the  NSTF-South32 Engineering Research Capacity Development Award for her work as a hydrometallurgical engineer, focused on ensuring a sustainable future supply of metals through improved processes and capacity.

2022

Prof Wellington Didibhuku Thwala

For his work in the area of sustainable construction management, digitalisation, design error containment and leadership within the built environment.

Professor Wellington Didibhuku Thwala, Research Professor: Construction Project Management and Leadership, Department of Civil Engineering, College of Science, Engineering and Technology at the University of South Africa (UNISA) received the award for his work in the area of sustainable construction management, digitalisation, design error containment and leadership within the built environment.

2022

Prof Tamiru Abiye

For his dedication to water science and his focus on building research capacity and solving community problems to attain sustainable development in South Africa.

 Prof Abiye, Professor of Hydrogeology at the University of the Witwatersrand, received the 2022 TW Kambule-NSTF Researcher Award for his dedication to water science and his focus on building research capacity and solving community problems to attain sustainable development in South Africa. Abiye’s background as a person from a rural water-stressed area gives him a unique perspective on humanity’s most pressing problem – securing water in the face of population, industrial, climate change and pandemic pressures.

2022

Dr Wynand Goosen

For his leadership role in South African research on the surveillance of zoonotic tuberculosis in domestic cattle and wild animals.

 Dr Wynand Goosen, Wellcome Trust Lecturer in the Animal Tuberculosis Research Group at Stellenbosch University, won the TW Kambule-NSTF Award for Emerging Researcher for his leadership role in South African research on the surveillance of zoonotic tuberculosis in domestic cattle and wild animals.  Zoonotic pathogens are potential sources of infections in susceptible people in rural areas.

2022

Dr Banothile Makhubela

For research into nano- and organometallic-catalysis directed towards green and sustainable chemical processes.

Dr Banothile Makhubela, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Research Centre for Synthesis and Catalysis at the University of Johannesburg, won the TW Kambule-NSTF Award for Emerging Researcher for research into nano- and organometallic-catalysis directed towards green and sustainable chemical processes, Dr Makhubela’s research applies such catalysts to converting waste materials like lignocellulose and a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), into sustainable chemicals and fuels.

2022

Prof Shabir Madhi

For his leadership in research on vaccines against life-threatening diseases in Africa and globally, and he has been at the cutting edge of research in this area since 1997.

This year, the Lifetime Award went to Professor Shabir Madhi, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences; and Professor: Vaccinology of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). He is also Director of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Vaccine and Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit (Wits-VIDA); and Co-Director: African Leadership in Vaccinology Expertise, Wits. He won the award for his leadership in research on vaccines against life-threatening diseases in Africa and globally, and he has been at the cutting edge of research in this area since 1997.

2022

Prof Marianne Vanderschuren

For her role in improving the quality of life of vulnerable road users using Smart Mobility through research solutions based on the basic sciences.

 The theme for the evening was inspired by the United Nations international theme for 2022: Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development. The Special Theme Award was made to Professor Marianne Vanderschuren of the University of Cape Town (UCT) who has made an outstanding contribution to SET and innovation in this area. She played an important role in improving the quality of life of vulnerable road users using Smart Mobility through research solutions based on the basic sciences.

Previous Professional Role Model Talks 

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