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Leading Researchers

In the South African (SA) context the key measures of research excellence at Wits include:

  • having about 423 NRF rated researchers of which 28 are ‘leading international scholars’ (second most in SA)
  • hosting (or co-hosting) 6 DST-NRF Centres of Excellence (most in SA)
  • being home to 28 South African Research Chairs (second most in SA)
  • having a wide portfolio of inventions (one of the most in SA) and
  • having one third of its annual income generated from externally funded research (one of the most in SA)

Nobel Laureates

Wits is justly proud of its four Nobel Laureates. They include:

  • Aaron Klug- (BSc, honorary DSc) 1982 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • Nadine Gordimer- (honorary DLitt) 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature
  • Nelson Mandela- (honorary LLD) 1993 Nobel Peace Prize
  • Sydney Brenner- (BSc, BSc Hons, honorary DSc) 2002 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Awards

Some claim this fellowship is the South African equivalent of the Nobel awards. Since its inception in 2001 14 awards, some of them multiple awards in one year, have been made (no award was made in 2003). The following Wits academics have won awards:

  • David Glasser for Sustainable Process Engineering in 2001
  • Norman Owen-Smith for Ecology in 2005
  • Duncan Mitchell for Physiology in 2010
  • Helen Rees for HIV/Aids and Reproductive Health in 2015
  • Lynn Morris for Virology in 2017
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