UP honours its top researchers at Academic Achievers’ Awards dinner

Posted on May 22, 2019

The University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) 2019 Academic Achievers’ Awards dinner was held on Tuesday to honour more than 110 academics who have shown exceptional achievement in their disciplines, as well as National Research Foundation (NRF)-rated researchers. 

The annual event is a highlight on UP’s calendar, and this year’s was the first under the vice-chancellorship of Professor Tawana Kupe, who said: “The academics honoured tonight help UP maintain its position as one of the top research institutes globally.” He told the honourees that their passion and commitment impact and transform lives in society. South Africa and the world need cutting-edge knowledge that only researchers or scholars with their expertise can produce.

Prof Kupe thanked the academics for being part of UP and for ensuring that the University “continues to illuminate the path of research excellence”.  He added, "It is in achievement that we valorise the pursuit of knowledge in its various forms. Knowledge as we know stimulates our intellect, illuminates in multiple ways, enables understanding, is a form of critical reflection, expands our horizons and enables us to imagine a better world than the one we live in. Knowledge also transforms lives, transforms societies, and transforms the world."

He expressed his pride at UP’s history of academic excellence. "The University of Pretoria is a place of achievement. It has a history, a present and a future of achievement. It is a place of excellence. It is the largest contact and residential university in South Africa; the largest concentration of clever achievers. We produce the largest number of research outputs among South African universities. UP is home to the largest number of staff with PhDs, a research degree which enables higher levels of research achievement."

Prof Kupe reminded the audience that UP is home to the largest number of NRF-rated researchers in the sector. "A rating is an achievement. A full 15 of our researchers are A-rated – not just in the sciences, but the humanities and social sciences, the creative arts and interdisciplinary fields. We graduate the highest number of PhD and master’s graduates."

He said the academics honoured contributed to the University being ranked one of the top research institutions globally. "Through their pursuit of excellence in research, teaching and learning and community engagement, UP was recently ranked among the top 1,9% of higher education institutions worldwide. Your efforts will again enable the University of Pretoria to make a decisive difference in transforming South Africa, our continent and the world for the better. Collectively you reflect the breadth and depth of the sterling work done across nine faculties and a business school. You are an inspiration and a source of great pride."

The keynote speaker at the event was Professor Glenda Gray, President and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council, who spoke about the need for transformation and the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated academic world. She has expertise in mother-to-child transmission of HIV, HIV vaccines and microbicides.

Prof Glenda Gray and Prof Tawana Kupe  

Below is the list of awardees:

Chancellor’s Award: Research 

Prof Josue Meyer

Prof Alexander Myburg

Exceptional Academic Achievers 

Prof Lyn-Marie Birkholtz

Prof Steve Cornelius

Prof Teresa Coutinho

Prof Walter Focke

Prof Rangan Gupta

Prof Andrew McKechnie

Prof Marion Meyer

Prof Louis Nel

Prof Emma Steenkamp

 Exceptional Academic Achievers

Exceptional Young Researchers 

Dr Deon Brink

Dr Reghard Brits

Dr Tung Lê

Dr Jeannie van der Linde

Dr Thulani Makhalanyane

Dr Paul Razafimandimby

Dr Daniel Nicolas Wilke


Exceptional Young Researchers 


Teaching Excellence Laureate Awards 2018

Mr Jacobus Bezuidenhout

Ms Marchantia Pollock

Dr Riana Steyn

Ms Elna Verster

Community Engagement Award 

Dr Carin Combrinck

Excellent Supervisor's Award:

Prof Mike Wingfield (FABI/ Advisor to the Executive)

Vice-Chancellor’s  Book Award - Natural and Applied Sciences

Prof Jan Snyman and Prof Daniel Wilke (Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, EBIT)

‘Second edition of Practical Mathematical Optimization’

Vice-Chancellor’s  Book Award - Humanities and Social Sciences

Prof Riel Franzsen and Prof William McCluskey (African Tax Institute, EMS)

‘Property Tax in Africa - Status, Challenges and Prospects’

National Research Foundation-rated researchers:

A-rated researchers

  1. Prof Don Cowan

  2. Prof Mike Wingfield

A-rated scientist Prof Don Cowan with Prof Tawana Kupe and Prof Stephanie Burton, Vice-Principal: Research and Postgraduate Education

B-rated researchers

  1. Prof Roumen Anguelov

  2. Prof Danie Auret

  3. Prof Jacek Banasiak

  4. Prof Dave Berger

  5. Prof André Boraine

  6. Prof Jan Eloff

  7. Prof Schalk Els

  8. Prof Hannes Grabe

  9. Prof Lise Korsten

  10. Prof Willem Landman

  11. Prof Jean Lubuma

  12. Prof Andrew McKechnie

  13. Prof Marion Meyer

  14. Prof Danie Prinsloo

  15. Prof Bernardo Rapoport

  16. Prof Wynand Steyn

  17. Prof Ronel Rensburg (awarded posthumously)

  18. Prof John Taylor

  19. Prof Philip Thomas

  20. Prof Rudi van Aarde

  21. Prof Hein Venter

  22. Prof Frans Viljoen

C-rated researchers

  1. Prof Zeno Apostolides

  2. Prof Emma Archer

  3. Prof Mapundi Banda

  4. Prof Johan Beckmann

  5. Dr Andriette Bekker

  6. Prof Phil Botha

  7. Dr Uche Chude-Okonkwo

  8. Prof Rhena Delport

  9. Dr Sune Donoghue

  10. Prof Anneli Douglas

  11. Prof Greta Dreyer

  12. Dr Wim Dreyer

  13. Dr Yves Dumont

  14. Prof Warren du Plessis

  15. Prof Rocco Duvenhage

  16. Dr Thomas Ebenhan

  17. Prof Rinelle Evans

  18. Prof William Fraser (awarded posthumously)

  19. Dr Ananda Geyser-Fouche

  20. Prof Michael Gitau

  21. Prof Rosemary Gray

  22. Prof Schalk Willem Jacobsz

  23. Dr Fahimeh Jami

  24. Dr Alta Jooste

  25. Prof Annie Joubert

  26. Dr Mark Keith

  27. Prof Thias Kgatla

  28. Prof Steve Koch

  29. Prof Anton Kok

  30. Prof Christa Kruger

  31. Prof Namrita Lall

  32. Prof Eben Mare

  33. Prof Wanda Markotter

  34. Prof Machdel Matthee

  35. Prof Cheryl McCrindle

  36. Prof Pieter Meyer

  37. Dr Yvette Naudé

  38. Prof Johan Nothling

  39. Prof Nanette Oberholzer

  40. Dr Lynne Pilcher

  41. Prof Tinus Pretorius

  42. Prof Corneliu Simut

  43. Prof Gerhard Steenkamp

  44. Dr Eyob Tesfamariam

  45. Dr Vusilizwe Thebe

  46. Dr Wayne Truter

  47. Dr Liezel van der Merwe

  48. Prof Jan Verschoor

  49. Prof Claire Wagner

  50. Prof Michael Ward

  51. Prof Everard Weber

  52. Prof Chris Weldon

  53. Prof Cas Wepener

  54. Prof Siphamandla Zondi

P-rated scientist

Prof Eshchar Mizrachi

Prof Eschar Mizrachi, P-rated scientist

Y-rated researchers

  1. Dr Matthys Dippenaar

  2. Dr Michal Gwizdala

  3. Dr Natalie Keough

  4. Dr Thulani Makhalanyane

  5. Dr Damilola Momodu

  6. Dr Duncan Reyburn

  7. Dr George Thopil

  8. Prof Jeannie van der Linde

  9. Dr Tanya van Wyk

  10. Dr Gus Waschefort

  11. Dr Xianming Ye

Y-rated scientists

- Author Department of University Relations

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