NWU shines at

‘Science Oscars’

Two NWU researchers were acknowledged alongside the greatest scientists in South Africa when they received NSTF-South32 awards, also known as ”Science Oscars”.

Prof Alta Schutte and Prof Melville Saayman, both from our campus in Potchefstroom, were recognised for their contributions to their fields at a gala dinner in Johannesburg in June. Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology, presented the awards. She is also the event’s patron.


The NSTF-South32 Awards are the largest science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation awards in South Africa, and were the first science awards in the country to focus on spreading information about SET to the public.


15 years of research excellence


Alta is the joint winner of the TW Kambule-NSTF Award for research and its outputs by an individual within 15 years of receiving a PhD. In addition to this award, she also won the Department of Science and Technology's Women in Science Award in August 2017.


She is a professor of physiology and holder of the South African

Research Chair (SARChI) in the Early Detection and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in South Africa. The Department of Science and Technology funds this chair, which is located within the Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART) at the NWU.


Alta is also the director of the Medical Research Council’s Extramural Unit for Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease.


Top in tourism research


Melville is the winner of the Special Annual Theme Award, presented to an individual who contributes to or supports sustainable tourism for development.


He is the director of the Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society (TREES) unit.


This year’s NSTF Awards have once again shown that the NWU’s researchers are among the best in South Africa and that their research has great impact.

For more information on the NSTF, visit their website at www.nstf.org.za.


“It is a great honour to receive this award as a reward for all the work over the years. What makes it more special is that the award is also recognition to everyone who worked with me on the various research projects. I believe any award is a shared award because no individual can achieve it alone.

“This is the first time that someone in tourism has received an award of this kind. To me it is a clear indication of the important role that tourism is starting to play, not only in the economy but also in the advancement of science.”











"This NSTF award category spans 15 years, thus covering the early days of my doctoral and postdoctoral years. It includes the years when I got married, as well as the times I took off to have my two children - Jacques (11) and Anita (8).

“Without the dedication and support of my husband and family, none of this would have been possible. Apart from the support of my family, my colleagues in the Faculty of Health Sciences and particularly HART have been absolutely wonderful. This award should be for a team effort and not be given to a single person.

"The award is a wonderful recognition of work over the years, but in the end all that matters is that our contributions to science make a difference and will result in fewer people in Africa suffering from high blood pressure and resultant stroke, heart disease and kidney disease."




Hover on the photos to see what the awards mean to Alta and Melville.