UCT researchers honoured at ‘Oscars of science’ 30 JUNE 2017 | NATALIE SIMON

18 Jul 2017 - 09:45

“The NSTF-South32 Awards offer us an annual opportunity to really celebrate the world-changing work South African researchers achieve,” says UCT Vice-Chancellor Max Price. “Every day, without much fuss and fanfare, these researchers conduct work that changes people’s lives for the better.”

“We are particularly proud of all our six finalists and four award winners,” says Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, deputy vice-chancellor of research and internationalisation at UCT.

“These winners and finalists do not operate in a vacuum. That our researchers performed so well in these awards reflects positively on the entire research endeavour at UCT, especially the great work done by our postgraduate researchers and the research support staff.”

Dr Robyn Pickering, an isotope geochemist in the Department of Geological Sciences, has successfully adapted uranium-lead dating techniques to provide the first set of direct ages for the South African caves in which early human fossils were found. “My dream since undergraduate days was to date local cave sites, and I had to go away (to Europe and Australia) to learn how to do that,” Pickering told the Mail & Guardian. “But I’m excited to be back and help train and inspire a new generation of scientists. Married and with two small children, I am aware that I can be a positive role model for young women. I also want to help ensure that expertise and funding come to South Africa and stay here.”