The academy of science of South Africa (ASSAf) has on Wednesday inaugurated 43 of the country’s leading and eminent scholars and scientists at the annual awards ceremony. The academy was first initiated in May 1996 by the former and the late President of South Africa and patron of the institution, Nelson Mandela. It was formed as a response to a need to create a science outfit whose mission would align with the dawn of democracy in the country and use science for the benefit of society.
Much sought-after prize
One of ASSAf’s core objectives is to honour and celebrate South African most exceptional scholars by electing them to membership of the academy drawn from the full spectrum of disciplines. Membership of the academy is considered one of the coveted accolades within the science circles and recognises scholarly achievement. New members are elected every year by the existing membership. Members are the mainstay of the academy and selflessly give of their time and expertise voluntarily to service society. The new members bring the total membership tally of ASSAF to 632.
Young science brigade
The academy also inaugurated ten new members of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). SAYAS is made up of young scientists below the age of 40 who have PhDs and are outstanding in their fields of expertise. Members come from all disciplines including pure and applied sciences, humanities, social sciences and the arts.
The youth science academy was first launched in October 2011 as a platform through which South Africa’s young scientists can fully participate in local and internationally relevant research and development agenda. In addition, the youth academy serves as a vehicle for young scientists from all disciplines in the country to partner and collaborate as well as access global networking and career development opportunities.
The new ASSAf Members are:
- Professor Heidi Abrahamse is Director of the Laser Research Centre, University of Johannesburg (UJ) and DST/NRF SARChI Chair for Laser Applications in Health.
- Professor Catherine Albertyn is Professor of Law and the SARChI Research Chair in Equality, Law and Social Justice in the School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).
- Professor Colleen Aldous is a Professor in the College of Health Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
- Professor Haroon Bhorat is Professor of Economics and Director of the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
- Professor Irwin Brown is Head of Department and Professor of Information Systems (IS) at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
- Professor Justine Burns is Head of School, School of Economics at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
- Professor Christian Chimimba is former Head in the Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria (UP), an Associate of the Mammal Research Institute, and a core team member of the Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology.
- Professor Shadreck Chirikure is Head of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
- Professor Ian Couper is Director of Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health and Professor of Rural Health in the Department of Global Health, Stellenbosch University (SU).
- Professor Mary-Ann Davies is a Public Health Medicine Specialist in the Western Cape Department of Health, responsible for Epidemiology and Surveillance, and Director of the Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research (CIDER) at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
- Professor Anton Du Plessis is an associate Professor at Stellenbosch University (SU) and is also affiliated with Nelson Mandela University (NMU) and Central University of Technology (CUT) as visiting professor.
- Professor Tulio de Oliveira is a Professor of Bioinformatics at the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, Stellenbosch University, and director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI) in South Africa.
- Professor David Everatt is Professor of Urban Governance at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) School of Governance.
- Professor Willem Fouché is at present Emeritus Professor at the Department Decision Sciences at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
- Professor Kerstin Jordaan is Professor in the Department of Decision Sciences at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
- Professor Jeanne Kriek is a full Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
- Dr Glenda Kruss is the Executive Head of the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).
- Professor Xinying Liu is a full Professor at the Institute for Development of Energy for African Sustainability (IDEAS), a research institute at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
- Professor Rasigan Maharajh is the Node Head of the DST/NRF CoE in Scientometrics and STI Policy, Chief Director of the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation (Tshwane University of Technology), and Associate Research Fellow of the Tellus Institute.
- Professor James Maina is Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Pretoria (UP) and adjunct Professor at Chang’an University in Xi’an, China as well as Shandong Jianzhu University in Shandong, China.
- Professor Madipoane Masenya is Professor of Old Testament Studies attached to the Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
- Professor Salome Maswime is an associate Professor and Head of the Global Surgery Division at the University of Cape Town (UCT); an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist.
- Professor Koleka Mlisana is the Executive Manager: Academic Affairs, Research & Quality Assurance at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS).
- Professor Mosa Moshabela holds the position of Full Professor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation (Acting), University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
- Professor Shireen Motala is Professor in the Faculty of Education (FoE) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The SARChI Chair, Teaching and Learning is located within the FoE.
- Professor Ntobeko Ntusi is a cardiologist and a Professor of Medicine, and is the Chair and Head of Medicine at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH).
- Professor Marlien Pieters is Professor of Nutrition at the North-West University (NWU) and serves as Director of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Extramural Unit: Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease Research.
- Professor Norma Romm is a research Professor in the Department of Adult Education and Youth Development at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
- Professor Akshay Saha is an Associate Professor and Academic Leader Research and Higher Degrees at the School of Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
- Professor Samantha Sampson is Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University (SU).
- Professor Sibusiso Sifunda is a Chief Research Specialist in the Human and Social Capabilities (HSC) research programme of the Human Science Research Council (HSRC).
- Professor Ruth Stewart is Director of the Africa Centre for Evidence at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the Chairperson of the Africa Evidence Network.
- Professor De Wet Swanepoel is Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, University of Pretoria (UP) and senior research fellow at the Ear Science Institute Australia.
- Professor Andrew Thatcher is Chair of Industrial and Organisational Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).
- Professor Peter Taylor is Professor in Zoology & Entomology Department & Afromontane Research Unit, University of the Free State (UFS), QwaQwa Campus.
- Professor Bhekisipho Twala is the Executive Dean of Engineering and Built Environment and Professor in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
- Professor Jean-Paul Van Belle is Professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
- Professor Ashley van Niekerk is Professor at the University of South Africa (Unisa) Institute for Social and Health Sciences.
- Professor Marietjie Venter heads the Zoonotic arbo and respiratory virus programme and co-founded the Centre for Viral Zoonoses Department Medical Virology, University of Pretoria (UP) where she is full Professor.
- Professor Samantha Vice is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).
- Professor Gerhard Walzl leads the Stellenbosch University (SU) Immunology Research Group.
- Professor Lesley Wood is a Research Professor in the Faculty of Education at North-West University (NWU) and Director of a research entity, Community-based Educational Research.
- Professor Patrick Woudt is Professor of Astronomy and Head of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
- The ten new SAYAS members are:
- Professor David Lokhat is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
- Dr Joshua Edokpayi is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Earth Sciences from the University of Venda (Univen).
- Professor Kapil Gupta is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Technology at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
- Dr Michelle Lochner is a Senior Lecturer/Principal Investigator for the Rubin Observatory with a joint position between the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory.
- Professor Monnye Mabelebele is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agriculture and Animal Health at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
- Dr Moshawe Jack Madito is the Senior Lecturer in the Institute for Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability (iNanoWS) at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
- Dr Natisha Dukhi is a Senior Research Specialist at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in South Africa.
- Professor Nnamdi Nwulu is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and the Director of the Centre for Cyber Physical Food, Energy & Water Systems (CCP-FEWS) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
- Dr Sphiwe Emmanuel Mhlongo is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Science, Engineering, and Agriculture of the University of Venda (Univen).
- Professor Thashree Marimuthu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).