In remembrance: Professor Tania Douglas

26 March 2021

Dear colleagues and students

It is with immense sadness that we inform you of the passing of Professor Tania Douglas (51) on Saturday, 20 March 2021 after a battle with cancer.

Professor Douglas joined UCT in August 2000 and was a professor in the Division of Biomedical Engineering at the Department of Human Biology, the South African Research Chair in Biomedical Engineering and Innovation, and director of the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre. She also served as a deputy dean of research in an acting capacity.

Her excellence in her field saw her recognised as a Distinguished Woman Researcher in the Research and Innovation category at the 2019 South African Women in Science Awards. Her belief that Africa has its own unique medical challenges which require unique African solutions and her work in this field led to her inclusion in the prestigious list of 30 Quartz Africa Innovators for 2018. The Quartz list is an annual series which identifies some of the most ambitious and imaginative minds on the continent.

That same year she was inducted into the UCT College of Fellows, which recognises original, distinguished academic work that merits special acknowledgement. This is one of the highest accolades an academic staff member can receive at UCT.

She also established an MPhil programme in health innovation at UCT, which is intended to address the gap that often exists between solutions and their implementation when context is neglected. In order to share knowledge on addressing the health needs of the developing world through innovation, Professor Douglas also launched the Global Health Innovation journal, which is freely accessible online.

She has been described as a brave, humble, and brilliant woman who lived her life and carried her illness with extraordinary grace and dignity. She will be remembered for her astute intellect, quiet humanity, positive attitude, ever-present beautiful smile, talent and grace.

Professor Douglas is survived by her parents, Dr Aubrey and Mrs Helena Douglas.

A memorial service organised by her family will be held at 10:00 on Saturday, 10 April.

The university is in contact with the Douglas family and has reached out to offer support during this time of grief. We convey our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and all who knew Professor Douglas.


The UCT Executive

* Read the Faculty of Health Sciences announcement about the memorial that will be broadcast from 16:30 on 7 April 2021.

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