UCT admits four distinguished academics to College of Fellows

10 November 2022 | Story Niémah Davids. Photos Lerato Maduna. Video Production Team Boikhutso Ntsoko, Ruairi Abrahams and Rozanne Engel. Video Edit Ruairi Abrahams. Read time 4 min.
New inductees to the UCT College of Fellows Prof Ernesta Meintjes (second from left) and Prof Anthony Figaji (far right), with three recipients of the Young Researchers award Dr Tshepo Mosaka (left), Faisal Garba Muhammed (third from left) and Dr Liza Cirolia (second from right). Pictured with them is DVC prof Sue Harrison (centre).

As the sun prepared to set on Table Bay Harbour on a crisp evening in the Mother City, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) College of Fellows – a group of distinguished academics – gathered for an annual celebration in honour of research and academic excellence. And as tradition dictates, also extended a hearty welcome to four new inductees who entered the fellowship this year.

The special dinner, hosted by Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation Professor Sue Harrison, was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the V&A Waterfront on Monday, 7 November. UCT fellowships recognise members of permanent academic staff for original and distinguished academic work that merits special recognition. Induction into the College of Fellows is one of the highest accolades an academic staff member can receive at the university.


“For me, the College of Fellows is about celebrating and remembering all those things that we do and how we will take UCT forward.”

“For me, the College of Fellows is about celebrating and remembering all those things that we do and how we will take UCT forward, and I think that’s really where our focus needs to be now,” Professor Harrison said.  

The four new 2022 UCT fellows are:

  • Professor Nicholas Biekpe – UCT Graduate School of Business
  • Professor Ernesta Meintjes – Division of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS)
  • Professor Sharon Prince – Division of Cell Biology, FHS
  • Professor Anthony Figaji – Division of Neurosurgery, FHS

Celebrating excellence

The special event was also used to celebrate excellence by congratulating five new College of Fellows Young Researchers awardees. These awards, offered annually, recognise outstanding scholarly work carried out by young academics who have made significant independent contributions to research in their fields.

The 2022 research awardees are:

  • Dr Katye Altieri – Department of Oceanography, Faculty of Science
  • Dr Liza Cirolia – School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, Faulty of Engineering & the Built Environment
  • Dr Faisal Garba Muhammed – Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities
  • Dr Tshepo Mosaka – Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law
  • Dr Jeffrey Murray – School of Languages and Literature, Faculty of Humanities

Creating an integrated and transformed university

Addressing the audience, Harrison said the event was an opportune moment for UCT researchers to get together, network and informally share their work with likeminded scholars, and to celebrate the university’s many achievements.

DVC Prof Sue Harrison said the College of Fellows dinner was a moment of celebration and reflection.

“Keep looking at what UCT is doing and how we show up in all sorts of things. From our research outputs to things that we are acknowledged for [because] of the impact that they have, to where we sit in our rankings, and to the many, many people we celebrate week in and week out, [without] really realising what they have done for the university, what they have done in their research and how they make a difference in this country,” she said.

Harrison urged the cohort of academics to turn their focus to creating the UCT that they want and to chart a path to achieve that goal together. She acknowledged that there’s always much discussion and debate about creating the “Africa we want” and for which Agenda 2063 (Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming the continent into a global powerhouse of the future) exists and is the bedrock. Similarly, she said, the time has come to also focus on creating the desired UCT – an integrated and transformed university – together.

“Let’s drink to UCT and [creating] an integrated, transformed and excellent university. I welcome you to enjoy each other’s company and to put together new plans that will make us an even stronger research university,” Harrison said.

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