|Triumphant trio: The NRF has made special awards to Profs Kelly Chibale, Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan and Tim Noakes.|
The National Research Foundation (NRF) has recognised the superlative work of three UCT researchers by naming them for Special Category Awards at a ceremony in Cape Town on 13 September.
Professor Tim Noakes was honoured with the NRF lifetime achievement award for his pioneering work in sports science research.
Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan received the Transformation of the Science Cohort Award for her achievements as a palaeobiologist.
And Professor Kelly Chibale was named the NRF's Champion of Research and Capacity Development at Higher Education Institutions in South Africa.
Chibale made international headlines recently when his Drug Discovery & Development Centre (H3-D) at UCT identified a chemical compound that has the potential to provide a single-dose cure for malaria.
Vice-chancellor Dr Max Price said of the accolades: "These awards celebrate three remarkable academics whose work has helped position UCT as an African hub of intellectual activity and research: exploring the continent's prehistory, the science behind excellence in sports and the potential of different chemical compounds to cure Africa's diseases. They are part of UCT's platform for nurturing the next generation of academics for many other universities in the country and the continent."
The NRF has also recognised the future strength of UCT through its ratings this year. For 2012, three out of the four new P-ratings, made to young researchers who are considered likely to become future international leaders in their fields, are from UCT: archaeologists Dr David Braun and Dr Shadreck Chirikure, and Dr Amanda Weltman of the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics.
The NRF has awarded two new A-ratings to UCT scholars as well this year - to microbiologist Professor Ed Rybicki and paediatric specialist Professor Heather Zar. In addition, the foundation has reconfirmed the A-ratings of UCT mathematics' Professor Hans-Pieter Kunzi and environmental engineer Professor George Ekama. An A-rating is given to researchers who are unequivocally recognised by their peers as leading international scholars in their field for the high quality and impact of their recent research.
UCT currently has 380 NRF-rated researchers, including 30 A-ratings and five P-ratings.
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