Distinguished university professor from Canada honoured by University of Pretoria

Posted on April 23, 2015

Prof Howard Alper is the current chairperson of the government of Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC), and a professor at the University of Ottawa. The University of Pretoria awarded him an honorary doctorate in science in recognition of his extensive research in organic and inorganic chemistry, which investigates their potential applications in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical and commodity chemical industries.

Using homogeneous, phase transfer, and heterogeneous catalysis (for instance, clays and dendrimers) he discovered new reactions. He succeeded in preparing valuable products in pharmacologically active form by using chiral ligands in metal catalysed cycloaddition and carbonylation reactions. He has published 544 papers, holds 37 patents and has edited several books.

Prof Alper has been awarded a number of prestigious fellowships and has received many awards for his work.

STIC, which Prof Alper has chaired since 2007, advises Canada’s cabinet and prime minister on science, technology and innovation issues. The Council also issues State of the Nation reports every two years benchmarking Canada’s global performance. The Government of Canada reappointed Prof Alper to a third term as chair of STIC in December 2012.

Prof Alper acknowledged the honorary degree bestowed on him by the University of Pretoria by saying, ‘I am pleased to receive this recognition, given the reputation of this University as one of South Africa’s premier educational and research institutions.’

Encouraging the graduates in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences he said: ‘We count on you graduates to transform hope into reality regarding the quality of school education and teaching as well as to address global challenges such as Aids and the reduction of poverty.’

- Author DUR

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