And the NWU’s other nominees were...

  • Prof Louis Kotze

    Prof Louis Kotze, research professor of Law at the NWU’s Potchefstroom Campus, was nominated for two awards. He was in the running for the TW Kambule-NSTF Award for research and its outputs and for the NSTF-Greenmatter Award towards achieving biodiversity conservation, environmental sustainability and a greener economy.


    Prof Louis is currently at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, where he is a visiting professor of environmental law in tandem with his NWU position. He is the author and co-editor of over 90 publications on themes related to South African, regional and global environmental law.


  • Prof Wilma Viviers

    Prof Wilma Viviers, director of the Trade and Development (TRADE) research focus area on the  Potchefstroom Campus, was nominated for her outstanding contribution as an individual to science, engineering, technology and innovation in South Africa over the past five to 10 years.


    She is the World Trade Organisation Chair holder and a leading authority in the fields of export promotion, competitive intelligence and economic development. Wilma’s work has appeared in more than 50 peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and national policy reports.



    The TRADE-DSM (decision support model) team, which Prof Wilma Viviers heads, was nominated for the category for research leading to innovation by a corporate organisation.


    The TRADE research entity is making an academically rigorous and highly practical contribution to South Africa’s trade and development efforts by regularly engaging with policy makers and industry stakeholders and delivering quality research outputs that address key challenges. These challenges include improving the country’s competitiveness, diversifying the export product and service base, and expanding into non-traditional markets.


  • CFAM Technologies (PTY) Ltd

    The NWU’s CFAM Technologies (PTY) Ltd was in the running for an award in the category for research leading to innovation by a small, medium and micro-sized enterprise.


    Danie Vorster is its managing director. CFAM specialises in the manufacturing of extrusion machines that are ideally suited for African conditions.


  • Mobile Agri Skills Development & Training (MASDT) NPC,

    Mobile Agri Skills Development & Training (MASDT) NPC, which is associated with the NWU’s Centre for Water Sciences and Management, was nominated in the non-governmental organisation category. The Centre for Water Sciences and Management’s director is Prof Ingrid Dennis.


    MASDT is a non-profit organisation that has diversified into a one-stop centre for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector.


Manager of NWU Science Centre receives Science ‘Oscar’

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. (See the side bar headed, “And 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 to 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.



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