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Three NWU researchers nominated for "Science Oscars"

In recognition of their outstanding contributions to science, engineering, technology and innovation in South Africa, three North-West University (NWU) academics have been nominated in the 2019/2020 National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) South32 Awards.

Esteemed researchers Prof Rose Hayeshi, Prof Frikkie van Niekerk and Prof Josef de Beer were recently announced as finalists of the 22nd annual NSTF-South32 Awards also known as the "Science Oscars".

Every year, various NWU researchers and academics are nominated for different award categories. Last year the university received two nominations at the NSTF-South32 Awards.

Esteemed researchers pull out all the stops

Prof Hayeshi, director of and associate professor at the DSI/NWU Preclinical Drug Development Platform, was nominated for the TW Kambule-NSTF Award as an emerging researcher. "I am very grateful and honoured to be on the list of nominees. I would like to share this recognition with all the wonderful and supportive teams and individuals who have contributed to my journey in science thus far."

Prof Van Niekerk from Nuclear Engineering and the Unit for Energy and Technology was nominated for the Management Award. He initially did not want to participate, but realised that he would honour the NWU and the selfless work behind the scenes of so many managers by accepting the nomination. "To be nominated is already a form of acknowledgement by your peers."

Prof De Beer, researcher from the Teachers Without Borders project in the research unit Self-Directed Learning, Faculty of Education, was nominated for the Communication Award. He said it really is a team effort to establish indigenous knowledge labs in rural schools. His team consists of Prof Neal Petersen (natural sciences) and Prof Marthie van der Walt (mathematics), and Tswakae Sebotsa (natural sciences) and Benjamin Seleke (technology). "We are grateful that the NWU's efforts to promote science in society are recognised by the NSTF in this way."

The accreditation and selection process for the NSTF-South32 Awards is in the hands of an adjudication panel of independent judges. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement of the winners will take place through a live-streamed Gala Event on Thursday, 30 July 2020, from 7pm to 8:30pm.