Faculty of Engineering celebrates research achievements during March

Some March celebrations at the Faculty of Engineering at Stellenbosch University (SU) include a series of awards acknowledging outstanding research contributions.

SU claimed three out of the four awards presented at the first-ever African Transport Research Conference (ATR-2024) held in Cape Town from 5 to 7 March 2024.

Dr Megan Bruwer, a Transportation Engineering lecturer at the Department of Civil Engineering, received an honourable mention (VREF Best Paper Award) for her groundbreaking work on “Remote detection of potholed road segments using widely available commercial floating car data”. Johann Andersen, an Industry Associate Professor in Intelligent Transportation Systems at Stellenbosch University, conducted the research with her.

Brendan Pretorius, a current MEng student in Electrical Engineering, also earned an honourable mention (VREF Best Paper Award) for his insightful paper titled, “The rate and order of charging: Striving for maintained mobility patterns with electric minibus taxis”. Dr Johann Strauss and Prof Thinus Booysen were his supervisors. About this award, he says: “Receiving this prize came as a shock to me. Given the quality of academics at the conference, I didn’t think I would receive such an award. It means so much to me that I received it, and it shows that hard work pays off and that our work has the potential to truly make an impact.”

Mienke Knipe, a PhD student from the Faculty of Economic Management Science, received the Best Paper by a Young Professional Award for her work on “The impact of transport expenditure on other household expenditures in South Africa.”

Moreover, Preyin Govender, a mechanical engineering PhD candidate and a junior lecturer at the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, had recent success at ICSHM12, the 12th International Conference of the Science of Hard Materials, which took place from 11 to 15 March 2024 in Sri Lanka. His presentation, “Evaluation of LPBF build integrity for WC-Co cemented carbides through critical parameter selection”, secured the second prize in the Student Presentation Awards.

His multidisciplinary approach, under the cross-supervision of Prof Debby Blaine from the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering and Prof Natasha Sacks from the Department of Industrial Engineering, reflects the Faculty’s collaborative spirit and commitment to cutting-edge research.