Highlights from UKZN’s Research Awards evening.

UKZN Researchers Rewarded for Achievements

Seasoned and young researchers were honoured for their achievements and contributions during the University’s annual Research Awards ceremony in Durban.

Welcoming everyone to the event, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Professor Deresh Ramjugernath said UKZN continued to be among the top performing Higher Education Institutions in South Africa with rankings recently listing it number two in the country for research outputs.

Director General of the Department of Science and Innovation Dr Phil Mjwara, who presented the keynote address, applauded the University’s research achievements and programmes, saying they epitomised UKZN’s commitment to research. He urged award recipients to commit to maintaining the high standard of research.

Ramjugernath paid tribute to the research achievers while launching UKZN’s 2018 Research Report. He also acknowledged and thanked all staff and students for their contributions to ensuring that UKZN remained the most transformed research intensive university in South Africa.

Professor Mahmoud Soliman was named UKZN’s Top Researcher for the second consecutive year, with Professor Colleen Downs, being the Top Published female researcher for the fifth consecutive year.

Associate Professor at UKZN’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU) Professor Yin-Zhe Ma received the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award which recognises outstanding research achievements among researchers under 40 years old.

Occupational therapist Professor Pragashnie Govender was recognised for being the first runner-up for the Department of Science and Technology’s SA Women in Science Awards.

The Top 30 researchers, Top 10 young published researchers and Top 10 published students were also named during the event. The top five most cited researchers included Professor Benn Sartorius, Dr Cynthia Chiang, Professor Kovin Naidoo, Professor Frank Tanser and Professor Genene Mola.

Other awards announced included those for the highest grant awards achieved for a College. The recipients were Professor Thumbi Ndung’u of the College of Health Sciences; Professor Christopher Buckley of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science; Professor Paulus Zulu of the College of Humanities, and the Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Nana Poku for the College of Law and Management Studies.

In her vote of thanks, programme director and UKZN’s Dean of Research Professor Urmilla Bob thanked researchers for their contributions, and staff at the Research Office for their dedication.

For further information on the research awards and other research achievements at UKZN, follow this link https://www.ukzn.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/UKZN-Research-2018.pdf for the 2018 Research Report.

Words: Sithembile Shabangu

Photographs: Albert Hirasen