Prof. Alta Schutte, Focus Area Director of the Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART) in the Faculty of Health Sciences on the Potchefstroom Campus, received the much sought after award on 13 August during a gala occasion in the Southern Sun at the OR Tambo Airport from the Minister of Science and Technology, Ms. Naledi Pandor, and the Deputy Minister of DST, Mr. Derek Hanekom.
“I never expected it when they mentioned my name on stage. I was surprized and very glad, especially for what it means to the NWU,” Schutte said.
The WISA competition is presented annually in August by the Department as part of the government’s celebration of the woman. The competition acknowledges women scientists and researchers and encourages them to keep on performing and creating opportunities in the country. Successful women scientists’ unique performances in research and innovation are also used to encourage other women and are held up as role models for young women and girls.
The focus of this year’s competition was on life sciences, indigenous knowledge systems, and social and human sciences.
“I believe we achieved this award because the research done by HART can make a huge impact on the community. HART focuses on relieving the burden of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases in the black African communities, in the future,” Schutte says. “I am also very thankful for the assistance I received from Profs. Frikkie van Niekerk and Amanda Lourens. They were also present when I received the award.”
“It is an exceptional performance, and if I am correct, it is a first for the NWU,” says Prof. Nico Malan, Director of the School of Physiology, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences. “We are looking forward to many more exceptional performances from an exceptional young researcher.”
According to Schutte, the excitement does not stop here since, amongst others, media interviews will be conducted in the next few weeks and the performance will also receive coverage in national newspapers.