Start main page content

Concrete specialist wins prestigious award

- Wits University

Emerging scholar receives Young Concrete Researcher Award by industry body Cement & Concrete SA.

Janina Kanjee pictured with Bryan Perrie (CCSA CEO) (right), and Prof Mark Alexander (UCT Emeritus Professor and CCSA Board Member)SA’s consolidated body for cement and concrete matters, Cement & Concrete SA (CCSA) has recognised Janina Kanjee, a PhD candidate in Civil Engineering at Wits, with the award of her “significant contribution to the advancement of cement and concrete through research excellence in the South African environment.”

Kanjee, 34, researches subjects such as concrete durability, concrete testing and assessment, as well as its rehabilitation and maintenance. In addition to her research record, she has demonstrated her commitment to industry by serving on the CCSA Board and in 2021 chaired the CCSA Young Concrete Researcher conference.

In 2017, she was actively involved in establishing the Wits South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) Student Chapter and, in 2019, the Wits Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE) Student Chapter – the latter a first in South Africa for the internationally-renowned UK institution.

To be considered for the biennial award, candidates must have published in accredited journals; presented at peer-reviewed conferences; have postgraduate supervision, dissertation and paper reviewer experience; and actively participate in industry-related activities in South Africa.  

Overall, five candidates were nominated for the award and these are: Dr Alice Bakera from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Nikhiel Budhai from building supplier Upat SA; Dr Jacques Kruger from the University of Stellenbosch; and Dr Sanjeev Kumar from University of Virginia, USA.

The award adjudicators, Bryan Perrie (CCSA CEO), Mark Alexander (UCT Emeritus Professor and CCSA Board Member) and Hanlie Turner (CCSA Business Development Manager), agreed that Kanjee met all the requirements in an exemplary manner.

Emerging researcher Janina and Prof. Mike Otieno, Head of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Professor Mike Otieno, Head of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at Wits, who nominated Kanjee, praised the judges’ decision adding that her research profile can only be expected to grow in the coming years. 

Kanjee says, “I am deeply honoured. My heartfelt thanks go out to the organisers, judging panel, and everyone involved in this journey for their unwavering support, encouragement, and belief in the potential of young researchers. This award motivates me to push the boundaries of cement and concrete research further, to advance our understanding of concrete materials, explore innovative construction techniques, and promote sustainable practices to benefit both society and the environment.”