Creativity, perseverance and the spirit of enquiry are producing results at the NWU, which is celebrating the achievements of a larger, more diverse pool of researchers than ever before.

NWU applauds its research and innovation achievers


Join us for an evening of glamour and well-deserved acknowledgement.


Saluting the winners


During the award ceremony vice-chancellor Prof Dan Kgwadi said it is clear from the NWU’s research performance highlights that it has built a strong foundation that empowers researchers and scholars to soar higher and further in pursuit of their goals.


He saluted the night’s winners and applauded their commitment, perseverance and vision.


The NWU honoured its cream-of-the-crop researchers and innovators during the vice-chancellor’s annual Research and Innovation Excellence Awards ceremony in Potchefstroom on 24 October.

Just like last year, the Faculty of Theology took top honours, winning in both the Most Productive Researcher and Most Productive Research Entity categories. The Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences once again received the prestigious title of Most Productive Junior Researcher.

Many outstanding staff members and students were acknowledged at the event for their excellence in research, innovation, community involvement and creativity. This includes researchers with NRF ratings, faculties that made significant contributions to community-engaged research and students who show the most promise in innovation and doctoral studies.

Meet the winners

The NWU’s most productive senior researcher is Prof Marius Nel of the Faculty of Theology.

The focus of his research is African Pentecostalism and its hermeneutical perspectives. Marius investigates the influence of African Pentecostalism on different ways of reading and interpreting the Bible.

Prof Martinette Kruger, the most productive junior researcher for 2018, is a full-time researcher and professor at Tourism Research in Economics, Environs and Society (TREES) in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

One of her research interests is understanding how events can facilitate tourism in a developing country and multicultural society. She was also this year’s winner in the South African Women in Science Awards’ Distinguished Young Woman Researcher for Humanities and Social Sciences category.

More shining stars

For the sixth consecutive year, the Most Productive Research Entity Award went to the Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, a research entity in the Faculty of Theology.

In addition, Prof Wen-Xiu Ma of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences was honoured with the Most Cited Researcher Award, while Prof Chris Vorster received the Top Technology Innovator Award.

Prof Thinus Botha received the Creative Output Award and Barend Visser the Top Inventor Award.

Students in the spotlight

The Vice-Chancellor’s Award: Most Promising Student Innovation Idea went to Boitshepo Gopane for her Eazi Waste Group company which also earned her a top place in the NWU’s Leopards Lair business competition earlier this year.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Award: Youngest Female Doctoral Graduate went to Dr Gontse Mokwatsi from the Faculty of Health Sciences, while Prof Gisele Mah from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences received the Vice-Chancellor’s Award: Developing Female Researcher.

New chair in Nursing

At the award ceremony, the NWU also celebrated the recent awarding of the SANOPsys SARChi Albertina Sisulu Chair in Nursing Science to Prof Siedine Coetzee.

This is the first research chair in nursing science that the NRF has awarded. Through this chair, the NRF will contribute more than R8 million towards the development of much-needed nursing and nursing leadership skills, aimed at improving the quality of the South African nursing sector.

The full list of researchers who were honoured at the award ceremony is available on the staff intranet.