The National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) has been recognising outstanding contributions in science, engineering, technology and innovation for the past 25 years, with awards provided in 14 categories. At a prestigious ceremony, dubbed the “Science Oscars”, which was held simultaneously in Johannesburg and Cape Town on the 13th of July, the Centre for Water Resources Research (CWRR) won the NSTF Water Research Commission (WRC) award. The CWRR was recognised as a centre of excellence and for their cutting-edge applied and interdisciplinary research, including postgraduate training in water resources related research and capacity building.
The award was accepted by Mr Mark Horan on behalf of the Centre’s Director, Prof. Jeff Smithers. Mark acknowledged the pivotal role the WRC has played in the Centre’s success, especially their research funding over the past five decades. He also acknowledged the contributions from CWRR members, associates and postgraduate students, both past and present. Dr Shaeden Gokool also represented the Centre at the Cape Town event, together with Prof. Julia Sibaya (Acting Head of School: Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences) and Prof. Mosa Moshabela (DVC of Research).
The Public Profile and Communication portfolio, which forms part of the CWRR Management Committee (ManCo), is currently championed by Mark, with support from other Centre members and associates. One of the main goals of this portfolio is to improve the Centre’s visibility in 2023. The winning of the NSTF award has certainly helped to achieve this goal considering the accolade was first announced on July 13 by the NSTF, followed by the Mail & Guardian (July 14), CAES (UKZN; July 14), Mercury (July 16), Independent Online (July 16), Witness (July 17), UKZN (July 20), Maritzburg SUN (July 28) and Public Eye (28 July). Special thanks to Prof. Neil Koorbanally and Prof. Moshabela for their key roles in nominating the Centre to participate in the NSTF awards, as well as Mark for accepting the award on behalf of the Centre.