NAS boasts seven finalists in NSTF’s ‘Science Oscars’

Posted on June 23, 2023

Seven researchers of the University of Pretoria (UP)'s Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (NAS) made it to the National Science and Technology Foundation (NSTF) 2022/23 Awards finals. They are Professor Brenda Wingfield, Professor Nigel Bennett, Professor Paxie Chirwa, Professor Patricia Forbes, Professor John Annandale, Dr Daniel Hart and Dr Els Vermeulen.

The NSTF Awards, known as the ‘Science Oscars’ of South Africa, are the most comprehensive and sought-after national awards of their kind in the country and recognise outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology (SET) as well as innovation by SET-related professionals and organisations. The awards are the flagship project of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF), in partnership with global mining company South32.

The theme for this year is Ocean Science for sustainable development. This theme was chosen in response to the United Nations (UN) proclamation of the decadal theme of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development for 2021-2030.

NAS has two finalists in the Lifetime Award category:
Professor Nigel C Bennett – Chair: Austin Roberts of Mammalogy and Professor: Zoology, Department of Zoology and Entomology and Professor Brenda D Wingfield – Chair: DSI/NRF SARChI in Fungal Genomics; and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, and the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute.

There are also two finalists in the NSTF-Water Research Commission (WRC) Award: 
Professor John Annandale – Group Leader: Mine Water Irrigation Research Group, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and Professor Patricia Forbes – Professor and Rand Water Chair in the Department of Chemistry

Management Award: 
Professor Paxie W Chirwa – Chair and Director: Forest Postgraduate Programme

Green Economy category, with an additional nomination in the Special Annual Theme category: 
Mammal Research Institute (MRI) Whale Unit – Dr Els Vermeulen, Research Manager: Department of Zoology and Entomology

TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Emerging Researcher Award: 
Dr Daniel W Hart – Senior Research Fellow: Department of Zoology and Entomology

It is also the 25th anniversary of the NSTF Awards. This year’s Silver Jubilee of the NSTF Awards will be celebrated simultaneously at the Awards Gala Dinners in Cape Town and Johannesburg on Thursday, 13 July 2023, by live broadcast via the NSTF YouTube channel.

- Author Martie Meyer

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