Manager of NWU Science Centre receives

Science ‘Oscars’


The manager of the Science Centre on the Potchefstroom Campus has received an NSTF-South32 award, also known as a ”Science Oscar”, in recognition of the excellent work he does.




Prof Jan Smit was honoured on 30 June during a gala dinner at the Emperors Palace in the category for communication for outreach and creating awareness. Jan was one of eight NWU finalists in the National Science and Technology Forum’s (NSTF) prestigious science awards. (Click on the multicoloured icons to the right to see who the NWU’s other nominees were.)


Honoured but humbled


Jan, manager of the Science Centre on the Potchefstroom Campus, says it was a great honour to be acknowledged alongside the greatest scientists in South Africa. “I am humbled by the recognition. I feel like a dwarf looking over the shoulders of giants.”


He was initially hesitant to enter for the awards. “I believe that one should always do your work to the best of your ability, not to get recognition but because you believe in it. I was pleasantly surprised. The award is a good motivation to continue to produce innovative and high-quality work.”


Jan says he is grateful to all the scientists and students who have contributed to his career. This includes great scientists such as Prof Pieter Stoker and former students such as Prof Dan Kgwadi, vice-chancellor of the NWU.


His present work contributes towards building human capital in innovative ways and improving the knowledge, skills and attitudes of learners and the public in the important fields of science and engineering technology. The end product of his vision is a well-qualified corps of engineers, scientists and technologists.


Most sought-after awards


The NSTF-South32 Awards are the largest, most comprehensive and most sought-after national awards of their kind. They honour and celebrate outstanding contributions to science, engineering, technology and innovation.

The patron of the awards, which are unique to South Africa, is the Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor. The theme for this year was “Pulses”. It acknowledged the 2016 International Year of Pulses as declared by the United Nations. The theme promotes and raises awareness of health, nutrition and environmental sustainability to ensure food security and new innovations.