Nothing can stop the NWU from paying tribute to its best researchers; not even a pandemic.
Excellence was the watchword when the NWU honoured its outstanding researchers and innovators during a virtual ceremony on 3 December 2020.
Acknowledging their excellence in research and innovation during 2019, this event was quite unique. For the first time ever it was presented virtually and several new touches were added. These included acknowledging runners-up in the various categories and adding a new category, Most Productive Emerging Researcher.
Theologist takes centre stage again
For the second consecutive year, the Faculty of Theology’s Prof Marius Nel won the Most Productive Researcher category. He investigates the influence of African Pentecostalism on different ways of reading and interpreting the Bible.
Hot on his heels in this category was runner-up Prof Danie Meyer, a development economist and former director of the Trade and Development research entity (TRADE) in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.
Emerging researchers shine
Prof Ruan Kruger was the winner in the new category, Most Productive Emerging Researcher. Ruan is the research leader of the NRF SARChI Research Chair in Early Detection and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Africa, hosted by the Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART) centre for excellence.
The runner-up in this category was Dr Zandri Dickason-Koekemoer of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, who specialises in financial risk management.
Other achievers in the spotlight
The Faculty of Engineering’s Prof Leenta Grobler and Dr Henri Marais received the Innovation Impact Award for their engineering innovations in digital health.
Dr Aurelia Williams of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences was the winner in the category for NWU National and International Recognitions and Memberships. She was listed among the Mail & Guardian’s top 200 young South Africans for 2019 in the Science and Technology category.
Watch this video to hear more about the appreciation NWU leaders have expressed for the splendid work our researchers and innovators do.
NWU researchers overcome Covid-19 challenges
The Covid-19 pandemic has not dampened the enthusiasm of the NWU’s researchers. Reflecting on the current state of research at the university, Prof Frans Waanders, acting deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation, pointed out that research had mostly continued, and there had even been an improvement in the writing and submission of journal articles compared to 2019.
Prof Linda du Plessis, vice-principal and deputy vice-chancellor for planning and Vanderbijlpark Campus operations, said that after having listened to all the achievements, words could not adequately express the university’s gratitude for the perseverance and commitment researchers had shown towards their work.
Vice-chancellor Prof Dan Kgwadi said the NWU family was truly inspired by the hard work of researchers and he felt honoured to congratulate every researcher and innovator who received an award. “Thank you for making us proud,” he concluded.