Ten SU finalists compete for SA’s ‘Science Oscars’ 

Article written by Dr Alec Basson (Corporate Communication)

​​Over the past few years, Stellenbosch University (SU) has featured prominently at the annual National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)/ South32Awards. This year is no different with 10 SU finalists competing for the 2019/2020 NSTF/South32 Awards at South Africa’s “Science Oscars”. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement of the winners will take place through a live-streamed Gala Event on Thursday, 30 July 2020.

Regarded as the most sought-after national accolades of their kind in the country, the NSTF/South32 Awards recognise, celebrate and reward the outstanding contributions of individuals, teams and organisations to science, engineering and technology (SET) in the country. Among the competitors are experienced scientists, engineers, innovators, science communicators, engineering capacity builders, organisational managers and leaders, as well as data and research managers.

According to the organisers, it is an extraordinary honour to be a finalist given the quality of the nominations received every year, the fierce competition that nominees face and growing interest from the SET community over the years.

The SU finalists (with department or environment) and the categories in which they will compete are as follows:

Lifetime Award:

  • Prof Leslie Swartz (Department of Psychology)

TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Researcher:

  • Prof Christine Lochner (South African Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders and Department of Psychiatry)

TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Emerging Researcher:

  • Dr Wynand Goosen (Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences)
  • Prof Richard Walls (Fire Engineering Research Unit)
  • Dr Jacqueline Wormersley(Department of Psychiatry)

​NSTF-Lewis Foundation Green Economy Award:

  • Prof Thinus Booysen (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering). He is also a finalist in the NSTF-Water Research Commission Award
  • Prof Wikus van Niekerk (Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies and Dean: Engineering)
  • Sharksafe (Pty) Ltdwith CEO and Co-Inventor Prof Conrad Matthee (Department of Botany and Zoology)

Data for Research Award:

  • Stellenbosch University Computed Tomography Scanner Facility Team with Leader Prof Anton du Plessis (Department of Physics)

Communication Award:

  • Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus (Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science)​

The three finalists from the Faculty of Engineering are from the left: Profs Richard Walls, Thinus Booysen and Wikus van Niekerk.