Academic research is mostly a solitary pursuit, but even UWC researchers can be persuaded to shed the white coats to recognise that research counts for more than just a few letters after your name.
To that end, UWC honoured their best and brightest this year at an award ceremony held at the Crystal Towers in Century City.
In his keynote address, UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor Professor Tyrone Pretorius expressed his hope that the inaugural Research and Recognition Awards would become a key event for the University community “to demonstrate our commitment to quality and excellence in everything we do, and to celebrate the achievements of our greatest assets, namely our people.”
Prof Pretorius invited the audience to reflect on how far the University community has come and what it is we seek to achieve.
“It’s an opportunity for us to think about what it is we can contribute to society, and indeed the world. Consider this: universities are one of the few institutions that have survived and flourished for centuries,” said Pretorius.
He expanded on the groundbreaking research he has witnessed on the UWC campus over the past few months by researchers delving into food insecurity, questioning land ownership issues, investigating groundwater and focusing biomedical research through computational sciences.
“Research matters because it is essential for the improvement of the human condition. It reduces the chance of making poor or dangerous decisions and protects us from false or risky beliefs,” said Pretorius.
The first person to be honoured on the evening was Linathi Ndzuzo, judged to be the best Master’s student of not only the Natural Sciences Faculty, but the entire institution. Ndzuzo has started working but said the award has made her reconsider studying further.
“This means a lot. I didn’t expect this. It makes me want to go into research. It gives me strength. When I was doing my Master’s there was a time when it was really hard, but this is so motivating,” said Ndzuzo.
Honoured as best next generation researcher, Ronel Davids too expressed surprise at the award. She is close to finishing her PhD research and said this accolade would open doors for her as a researcher. “There is limited research on parenting of/and children with hearing loss. This award validates where I am going with my research,” said Davids.
The Research and Recognition Awards was hosted by DVC: Research and Innovation, Professor José Frantz, who said it was important to separate these awards from last year’s DVC: Academic Awards to specifically reward researchers in order to make sure that research counts for both students and researchers of the institution.
“When I asked these A-rated researchers and SARChI Chairs to write something about what it means to make research count, all of them spoke about growing the next generation. So, in the words of one of them, ‘we the researchers will ensure that the findings of our research reach the right people at the right time’,” said Frantz.
UWC RESEARCH AND RECOGNITION AWARDS 2019
BEST POSTGRAD STUDENT, MASTER’S
Linathi Ndzuzo - Natural Sciences
BEST POSTGRAD STUDENT, PhD
Dr Smart Mabweazara - Community and Health Sciences
BEST ADMINISTRATOR, SUPPORT
Natalie Isaacs - Natural Sciences
Pelisa Vanda - Library Services
(Recognising the faculty that deposited the most academic papers in the library repository within the last academic year. The repository has demonstrated significant growth.)
Community Health Sciences
(Recognising a researcher who has developed an innovation which has had an impact in society in the last two years.)
Prof Alan Christoffels - Natural Sciences
FACULTY BOOK PRIZE AWARD
(Recognising a researcher who has published a book within the last academic year and demonstrated an impact in one or more subject areas.)
Prof Rajendra Chetty - Education
CREATIVE ARTS AWARD
(Recognising researchers who have produced an academic creative arts project in the last year, impacting on one or more subject areas.)
Prof Heidi Grunebaum - Arts Joint Award
Dr Hermann Wittenberg - Arts Joint Award
BEST NEXT GENERATION RESEARCHER
Ronel Davids - Community and Health Sciences
BEST EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER
Dr Timothy Dube - Natural Sciences
BEST MID CAREER RESEARCHER
Dr Fareed Moosa - Law
BEST ESTABLISHED RESEARCHER
Prof Ralf Henkel - Natural Sciences
BEST FACULTY (2018)
TOP 3 RESEARCHERS FOR 2018
1. Prof Jamil Mujuzi - Law
2. Prof Jacques De Ville - Law
2. Prof Edlyne Anugwom - Anthropology and Sociology
3. Prof Felix Banda - Linguistics
DVC SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARDS IN RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
(Recognising established researchers who have recently been NRF A-rated or had their A-rating reconfirmed by the NRF.)
Prof David Attwell - Arts
Prof Romeel Davé - Natural Sciences
Prof Emmanuel Iwuoha - Natural Sciences
Prof Cedric Linder - Natural Sciences
Prof Roy Maartens - Natural Sciences