UP supports Eskom Expo for Young Scientists with bursaries

Posted on October 16, 2017


The University of Pretoria (UP) has a long and proud tradition of being one of the main sponsors of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. Its 2017 Expo sponsorship, hosted in Johannesburg from 3 to 6 October, was no exception. The Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT) and the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (NAS) awarded five bursaries to the value of R78 000 to five learners in grades 11 and 12.

The Expo, initiated by Dr Derek Gray 37 years ago and launched at UP, continues to grow. It is supported and endorsed by the Department of Public Enterprises, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Basic Education. Learners from grades 7 to 12 annually have the opportunity to showcase their science projects in many different categories.

The Expo opened to the public on 5 October. Parents and others interested had the opportunity to view the inventive projects of future scientists and innovators. UP staff could also interact with educators, parents and learners and give them more information about the different degree programmes offered in both faculties.

The prestigious UP Derek Gray Award, which includes a full bursary to study science at UP and a fully paid trip to Sweden to represent Africa at the International Youth Science Seminar to be held there in December, was also awarded at the Expo. Rahil Samlal from St Dominic’s Academy in KwaZulu-Natal won this bursary with his project, titled Alternative method to cure bacterial infections.

In addition to the UP Derek Gray Award EBIT awarded three and NAS two bursaries in the categories specified as follows:

  • EBIT awarded three bursaries of R10 000 in two categories. In the category Computer Science and Information Technology Ms Abelwe Ndiki from Umtata High School in Mthatha received a bursary for developing Guide me App, an app to gather useful information required for higher education. Two bursaries were awarded in the category Energy Efficiency and Conservation. Mr Ndiwandeme Radzilai from St Augustine Residential in Vhembe was awarded a bursary for his project Energy conservation using lights. Mr Shaquel Tontpal from Dundee High School in the Northern KwaZulu Natal won received a project Producing more efficient electricity from acid mine drainage. This grade 12 prospective student has already applied to study at UP and is looking forward to joining the 2018 EBIT group.
  • The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences awarded two bursaries of R24 000 each. Ms Thajna Sweparsad from Ladysmith High School in Northern KwaZulu-Natal received a bursary for her project A novel approach to economically rehabilitate degraded ecosystems in the category Environmental Science. Ms Ntombizonke Nsibande from Hlamvana High School in KwaZulu-Natal North Coast was awarded for her project Colocation esculent (amadumbe) nutritious flour in the category Food Science, Food Technology and Healthy Eating.

These young scientists are enthusiastic about their projects and wish to see their innovations being implemented in the future. Department of Science and Technology Director General Dr Phil Mjwara congratulated all the winners who represented South Africa at the international science fair and encouraged other participants not to abandon their project ideas.

Expo for Young Scientists Executive Director Mr Parthy Chetty emphasised that all judges and staff working at the Expo were volunteers who gave their time selflessly to promote science education and develop the potential of these learners.



- Author Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology

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