UKZN women scientists win national awards

2011-08-25 00:00

UNIVERSITY of KwaZulu-Natal Women scientists scooped several national honours in various categories of the annual Women in Science Awards (Wisa) of the Department of Science and Technology this week.

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor announced the awards for outstanding scientific contributions for women who have advanced science and built the know-ledge base in their disciplines.

Awards in the following three categories were made to:

• Winner of the Distinguished Women in Science: Life, Natural and Engineering Sciences Award was Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, an internationally recognised expert on HIV and Aids.

The second runner-up in the Distinguished Women in Science: Social Sciences and Humanities category was Associate Professor Deevia Bhana, who is internationally regarded as a pioneer in the field of South African schooling and childhood sexuality.

• The winner of the Distinguished Young Women in Science: Social Sciences and Humanities Award was Associate Professor Pearl Sithole for her sustained contribution in the areas of gender and development, traditional governance systems and the politics of knowledge production.

• Doctoral fellowships were awarded to Tricia Naicker, whose research focuses on the synthesis of novel chiral catalysts, which play a vital role in the synthesis of all new and existing drugs, and Karen Pillay, whose research interest is in amyloid diseases, in particular Type II diabetes.

• Anna Zawilska, who graduated with a BSc in electronic engineering cum laude at UKZN last year, received a masters fellowship. She is working towards her MSc in the field of digital image stenanography.

The awards are aimed at profiling women scientists and researchers as role models for younger scientists and researchers.

They encourage and reward younger women who are starting their careers as emerging researchers and scientists.

The vice-chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, said: “These awards recognise and inspire exceptional individual scholars for exceptional deeds and achievements. We at UKZN are proud to have such a diversity of talented women scholars.

“It bodes well for our students and staff. On behalf of the university we salute them.”

In 2006 UKZN announced the Leadership and Equity Advancement Programme Academy (LEAP) to advance women academics and build scientific leadership and capacity.

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