The 2022/23 NSTF-South32 Awards recognises outstanding contributions to science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation in South Africa. The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) announced the 16 winners and the special Ukhozi awardee of the for excellence in SET and innovation.

The hybrid gala awards event took place on Thursday, 13 July 2023. It is the 25th anniversary celebration of South African excellence through the flagship project of the NSTF.

This year the Special Annual Theme Award was made for an outstanding contribution to SET and innovation towards ocean science for sustainable development. This is in recognition of the decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development for 2021-2030 as proclaimed by the United Nations. 

List of the 2022/23 NSTF-South32 Award winners:

Ukhozi Award: Silver Jubilee – NSTF Awards

Dr Philemon Mjwara. Image supplied by NTSF

Dr Philemon Mjwara. Image supplied by NTSF

Dr Philemon Mjwara – director general: Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)

For his significant contribution to the South African National System of Innovation and for the role he played in building strong relations between the DSI (as DST and later as DSI) and the NSTF.

Lifetime Award

Prof Jonathan Jansen – professor: Education, Stellenbosch University (SU); and president: Academy of Science of South Africa

For a contribution to the advancement of education scholarships through advanced research and publication, scholarly teaching, innovative university management especially in times of racial disharmony, science leadership, school improvement, educational innovation, capacity development, public engagement, and science advocacy.

Prof Jonathan Jansen. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Jonathan Jansen. Image supplied by NTSF

TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Researcher

Prize sponsor: proSET (Professionals in SET), a sector of the NSTF representing more than 45 professional societies

Prof Novel N Chegou. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Novel N Chegou. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Novel N Chegou – professor: Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, SU

For a life’s work which has focused mainly on the immunology of tuberculosis and the development of new tools for its management and conducting research on new tests that can assist in the rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis.

TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Emerging Researcher (2 winners)

Prize sponsor: South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS)

Prof Usisipho Feleni – associate professor and thematic area leader: Applied Electrochemistry, Institute for Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability, University of South Africa

For her contribution in electrochemistry, with emphasis on electro-analytical sensors and biosensors which comprise new chalcogenide-based quantum dot materials, nanoparticles, nanorods and nanocomposites that contain unique and specific features for use in electrochemical sensing and signalling of diseases such as HIV, TB, and cancer, as well as monitoring water contamination.

Prof Usisipho Feleni. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Usisipho Feleni. Image supplied by NTSF

Dr Daniel W Hart. Image supplied by NTSF

Dr Daniel W Hart. Image supplied by NTSF

Dr Daniel W Hart – senior research fellow: Zoology and Entomology Dept, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria (UP)

For a contribution which attempts to utilise concepts from evolutionary biology to address biological questions of health, biological, social, and economic relevance to humans which focuses on using knowledge of evolutionary biology of mammals to improve treatments of human medical conditions and to predict future consequences of climate change.

Management Award

Prof Paxie W Chirwa – chair and director: Forest Postgraduate Programme, UP

For his contribution, centred on people, to future forestry development in SA and training future foresters, aimed at recognising the importance of communities in proximity to the forest resource in sustainable forest management and use.

Prof Paxie W Chirwa. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Paxie W Chirwa. Image supplied by NTSF

Engineering Research Capacity Development Award (2 winners)

Sponsor: Eskom since 2003

Prof Nosipho Moloto. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Nosipho Moloto. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Nosipho Moloto – chair: DSI/National Research Foundation (NRF)/Nedbank South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) in Energy Materials; and research professor: Inorganic Chemistry, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits); and deputy director: African Research Universities Alliance, Centre of Excellence in Materials, Energy and Nanotechnology, Wits

For her contribution to capacity building through finding simple synthetic methods for semiconductor nanocrystals that can be used as essential components in the development of affordable solutions for the production of clean water, renewable and clean energy, rapid diagnostics of diseases and fast and easy to operate sensors.

Prof Onisimo Mutanga – professor: Remote Sensing, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN); and DSI/NRF/Nedbank SARChI Chair in Land Use Planning and Management, UKZN

For developing research capacity through the use of remote sensing techniques to support land use management focusing on the development of the science and the application of these techniques for terrestrial ecosystems.

Prof Onisimo Mutanga. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Onisimo Mutanga. Image supplied by NTSF

NSTF-Water Research Commission (WRC) Award

Sponsor: WRC since 2017 

Image supplied by NTSFCentre for Water Resources Research (CWRR), UKZN – Prof Jeff Smithers, director: CWRR; and Umgeni Water chair in Water Resources Management, Innovation and Research, School of Engineering, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, UKZN

For providing a centre of excellence for cutting edge applied and interdisciplinary research and postgraduate training in water resources related research and capacity building.

NSTF-SAMRC Clinician-Scientist Award

Sponsor: South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)

Prof Salome Maswime. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Salome Maswime. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Salome Maswime – obstetrician, gynaecologist and head: Global Surgery, Dept of Medicine, University of Cape Town (UCT)

For a contribution through pioneering the field of Global Surgery in Africa as part of a drive for greater equity, and access to, much-needed surgical care and finding measures to reduce the maternal mortality from caesarean sections in SA.

Green Economy Award

Sponsor: Technology Innovation Agency (TIA)

Prof Andrew Thatcher – professor: Psychology Dept, School of Human and Community Development, Wits

For his work on extending our understanding of Human Factors Ergonomics or “green ergonomics” to consider the entire Earth system, which has included theoretical developments, empirical investigations, and systematic reviews of the impact of these activities leading to mutually supportive human-natural environment systems.

Prof Andrew Thatcher. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Andrew Thatcher. Image supplied by NTSF

Data for Research Award

Image supplied by NTSFFreshwater Biodiversity Information System (FBIS) Team, Freshwater Research Centre (FRC) and Kartoza – Dr Helen Dallas, executive director: FRC; and team leader: FBIS

For the development of a powerful, open-access system for hosting, analysing and serving freshwater biodiversity data for SA, in order to facilitate freshwater decision-making.

Innovation Award: Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (2 winners)

Sponsor: National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) since 2019

LignOrganic – Tshepo Mangoele, CEO and Founder

Through their revolutionary biomass conversion technology, their company is helping to replace chemicals derived from fossil fuels with biochemicals such as lignin, which they produce, and has successfully formulated and commercialised as a skin care brand.

Image supplied by NTSF
Image supplied by NTSFPegasus Universal Aerospace Team – Dr Mohamed Reza Mia, chair and founder

For the design and development of a vertical take-off and landing aircraft which it is envisaged should create between 7 000 and 11 000 new jobs and the development of the necessary skills locally.

Communication Award

Prof Roger Deane – director: Centre for Astrophysics, Wits; and Wits Digital Dome Working Group; DSI/NRF SARChI chair in Radio Astronomy

For the achievement of R75-million digital upgrade of the Johannesburg Planetarium into a flagship science and technology engagement facility, where he has shared cutting-edge, clearly communicated astrophysics research with the public on a national stage, in combination with leading the communications and fundraising campaign.


Prof Roger Deane. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Roger Deane. Image supplied by NTSF

Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Award

Image supplied by NTSFCommunity Keepers – Gerrit Laning, CEO

For their project to enhance resilience and promote mental health and well-being amongst SA learners, their parents, teachers and community through socio-emotional learning opportunities, therapeutic counselling, referrals, support groups and resilience-building workshops free of charge.

Special Annual Theme Award: Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

Prof Andrew Green – professor: Marine Geology, UKZN; and visiting professor: University of Ulster, Northern Ireland

For excellence in marine geoscience research which forms the key to unlocking the blue economies of the world’s oceans and protecting our coastlines from the effects of climate change.

Prof Andrew Green. Image supplied by NTSF

Prof Andrew Green. Image supplied by NTSF