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Wits congratulates 2016 NRF awards winners

- Wits University

Two Wits academics were honoured with awards at the NRF awards ceremony on Thursday night, while eight received NRF A-ratings.

Wits University congratulates the winners of the annual National Research Foundation awards as well as all the new A-rated researchers named this year.

Two Wits academics were honoured with awards at the NRF awards ceremony on Thursday night, while eight received NRF A-ratings.

Professor Nosipho MolotoProfessor Nosipho Moloto of the Wits School of Chemistry was co-winner with the Research Excellence Award for Early Career/Emerging Researchers, which recognizes the exceptional research performance by NRF Thuthuka grant holders. She shared this prize with Professor Mark Engel, from the University of Cape Town. Professor Lee Berger from the Evolutionary Studies Institute at Wits won the Excellence in Science Engagement award, which honours individuals in the research community at South African higher education institutions and science councils for their outstanding contributions to public engagement with science over a sustained period. The award encourages academics while working in their fields, to also contribute substantially to enhancing the public’s awareness and engagement with science, technology, and innovation.

Four Wits academics received new A-ratings. They are Professor Florian Luca of the School of Mathematics, Professor Lenore Manderson of the Department of public health, Professor Achille Mbembe of the Wits Institute of Social Economic Research (Wiser), Professor Lynn Morris of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. 

Professor Claire Penn of the School of Human and Community Development and Professor Charles Feldman of the Department of Internal Medicine received their A-ratings for a second time, while Professors David Lewis-Williams and Norman Owen-Smith were awarded their A-ratings for a third time.  

Handing out the awards, Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor said the role that scientists and their research play is vital in the development of a country.

“It is without question that countries that excel in terms of research output go on to become powerful players in the global economy and are therefore able to provide a better quality of life for their citizens. In celebrating research excellence as embodied by the distinguished researchers who are receiving the NRF Awards, we are celebrating a group of men and women who are necessary and crucial to our progress towards making South Africa a knowledge-intensive economy. Scientific excellence put to the service of societal development is also a necessity for our progress as a country.”