University of the Free State researchers nominated for prestigious award

Date:20 July 2020 Author: Adrian Brown

Two researchers at the University of the Free State (UFS) have been nominated for the 2019/2020 National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)-South32 Awards, fondly known as the Science Oscars.

The NSTF awards were established in 1998. Since then they have come to be referred to as South Africa’s Science Oscars. These awards are some of the most sought after in the country.

Prof Zakkie Pretorius is a Research Fellow in the Department of Plant Sciences, and Prof Paul Oberholster is the Director of the Centre for Environmental Management. Both are nominated for the Science Oscars on account of their incredible work and their contributions to science.

According to the UFS, Prof Pretorius has two nominations. One for the Special Annual Theme Award: Research and development (R&D) and innovation in Plant Health and the other in the Lifetime category. “The Special Annual Theme Awards are made in recognition of the International Year of Plant Health (2020), as declared by the United Nations,” said UFS.

Prof Oberholster is nominated for the NSTF-Water Research Commission Award. “This award is for an outstanding contribution to science, engineering, and technology (SET) and innovation in South Africa in terms of sustainable water management, knowledge generation, and solutions.”

“I always believe the best person will win the award. At this level of competition, it can go both ways. I was nominated by the university for my scientific contribution to water resource management in South Africa over the past 10 years, with special reference to the field of passive wastewater treatment,” says Prof Oberholster.

The professor is no newbie to winning awards. He has previously won the xcellence Award: CSIR:NRE Outstanding team contribution: Project Leader: Coal tech, WRC and SANBI, Wetland restoration project; and the Excellence Award: CSIR:NRE Innovation: Algae technology for sewage treatment in South African rural areas.

A new, specially arranged virtual Awards Gala Event will be livestreamed on Thursday, 30 July 2020 at 18:45 for 19:00 until 20:30 to honour the finalists and announce the winners.

Image: UFS / Twitter


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