Posted on June 17, 2015
No fewer than six UP researchers are among the finalists of this year’s prestigious NSTF-BHP Billiton Awards (National Science and Technology Forum and Broken Hill Proprietary Billiton Awards). This speaks to the quality of the research being done at the University of Pretoria (UP) and the strides that have been made towards the University’s goal of being a leading research-intensive university in Africa.
The NSTF-BHP Billiton Awards honour and celebrate outstanding contributions to Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI) in South Africa and are unique in that the call for nominations is an open, public process. The awards recognise a variety of outstanding contributions by individuals and teams to SETI and afford opportunities for recognition and celebration to all practising scientists, engineers and technologists across the national system of innovation.
It is an honour for any scientist to be a finalist, given the exceptional quality of the nominations received each year and the fact that participation in the nomination process has increased by 25% since last year.
Prof Nigel Bennett, incumbent of the South African Research Chair in Mammal Behavioural Ecology and Physiology at UP, is a finalist for two awards, namely Research Capacity Development over the last 5–10 years by an individual; and the TW Kambule Awards: Research and Outputs over the last 5–10 years by an individual.
Professor Monuko du Plessis from the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering and the Carl and Emily Fuchs Institute for Microelectronics (CEFIM), Prof Resia Pretorius from the Department of Physiology in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor Zander Myburg from the Department of Genetics and the Genomics Research Institute (GRI) at UP are also finalists for the TW Kambule Awards: Research and Outputs over the last 5–10 years by an individual.
In honour of the 2015 International Year of Light declared by UNESCO, the NSTF is making a special award for a researcher who worked in the field of Photonics this year. In addition to being a finalist in the previously mentioned category, Prof du Plessis is one of only three finalists in the running for this special award.
Prof Lucy Moleleki, an associate professor in the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at UP, and Dr Thulani Makhalanyane, a lecturer in the Department of Genetics and a researcher with the Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics, are both finalists in the Category: TW Kambule Awards for Emerging Researchers. This category awards emerging researchers for contributions to research and outputs over a period of up to six years after completion of a PhD or equivalent qualification.
The 2014/15 NSTF-
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