Nelson Mandela University: Mandela Uni researchers receive National Research Fund awards

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Distinguished Professor in Information Technology and Director of the Centre for Community Technologies Professor Darelle van Greunen and Economics’ Professor Syden Mishi respectively have both won awards at the prestigious NRF Awards Ceremony.

The two were among the country’s leading scientists and some of the best performing researchers honoured for excellence and achievement in knowledge creation and dissemination.

Prof Van Greunen won the NRF Award for Public Engagement in Research, recognising her outstanding contributions to public engagement with research over a sustained period.

The award aims to encourage academics, while teaching and researching in their fields of expertise, to be committed to enhancing the public’s engagement with science and contribute substantially to the public’s understanding of the sciences and their applications in society (including natural sciences, engineering, technology, innovation, the social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge).

The award allow enables Prof Van Greunen to attend the next American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Conference in the United States of America.

Prof Van Greunen’s work with the CCT integrates transdisciplinary research and innovation with community engagement through the development and implementation of apps and other smart technologies that enable the advancement of education, health, rural and social development, particularly in low income communities.

Over the past five years, Prof Van Greunen and her team of change-maker researchers have won various awards and international acknowledgment for their ground-breaking research. This application development has taken place within the African context, thus realising her vision of “ICT solutions for Africa, by Africans, in Africa”. She is recognised as one of the leading academics in the space of advancing the 4th Industrial Revolution in Education.

The NRF Awards also provides a platform for new and emerging researchers to be inspired and to experience first-hand what it takes to become a recognised scholar, as part of the transformation agenda. Given the current human capacity challenge faced by South Africa, the NRF remains focused on addressing human capacity development and knowledge generation.

The NRF’s investment strategy is aimed at increasing the number of next generation researchers; improving student throughput; developing emerging researchers; and growing the number of established researchers. To this end, the NRF recently introduced new award categories to recognise Next Generation and Early Career / Emerging Researchers for exceptional research performance.

Economics’ Professor Mishi has been awarded for Research Excellence for Early Career / Emerging Researchers in the Social Sciences, Humanities and Law category.

His areas of teaching and research are applied microeconomics; microeconomics theory; behavioural and experimental economics; game theory; industrial organisation; institutional economics; and finance.

He supervises students and holds various research grants in this area. He also started a reading and research group: Research in Behavioural and Experimental Economics (RiBEE) and has been especially active lately in behaviour change methodologies around water usage in the drought-stricken Gqeberha.

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