University congratulates NSTF Award winners
“Inspirational” and “passionate” are how colleagues of microbiologist Prof Leon Dicks and human geneticist Prof Valerie Corfield describes these two Stellenbosch University academics who were named as category winners in the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) BHP Billiton Awards held in Gauteng last night (21 June 2012).
The awards celebrate outstanding contributions to Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI) in South Africa.
Prof Leon Dicks of the Department of Microbiology won the TW Kambule Award for an individual for an outstanding contribution to SETI through Research and its Outputs over the last 5 to 10 years, while Prof Valerie Corfield, chief medical scientist and associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, won the award presented to an individual or team for an outstanding contribution to SETI through Science Communication for Public Awareness over the last 5 years.
“Prof Dicks has a gift for seeing possibilities for how the research from his group can be applied in innovative ways to produce commercial products and services,” said Prof Doug Rawlings, acting Vice-Rector: Research of Stellenbosch University and a former head of the Department of Microbiology,
Prof Rawlings remembers many occasions when Prof Dicks had stood in his office, “bubbling over with excitement” as he has explained some new application for some aspect of his research that he had recently thought of.
“I cannot think of anyone who has such a passion for writing research articles and who gets such a thrill from seeing them published as Prof Dicks,” Rawlings said of the large number of research publications that Prof Dicks has produced, especially over the past 10 years.
“Although I know that Professor Dicks will acknowledge the contribution of his research students and post-doctoral researchers to his outputs, he has clearly been the driver behind his group’s scholarly and commercial outputs,” Prof Rawlings added. “He thoroughly deserves the recognition received by being declared the recipient of this nation-wide competitive award.”
“Our Faculty’s warmest congratulations go to Prof Corfield on this outstanding achievement and the well-deserved recognition for her excellent work,” said Prof Jimmy Volmink, dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. “She is an inspiration to all of us.”
Prof Volmink highlighted Prof Corfield’s passion for the educational and outreach work she is involved in. “She serves as an example to all scientists of the importance of effective science communication.”
“We are extremely proud and privileged to have her as our colleague,” he said of the outreach work Prof Corfield has been involved in over the past 12 years in enhancing awareness about HIV, tuberculoses and Tik in schools and communities.