The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) celebrated some of the top achievers in the organisation – people ensuring that science and technology continues to improve the quality of life of South Africans.
The biennial CSIR Excellence Awards, whose theme this year was Usebenzile (you have done well), to recognise extraordinary organisation-wide achievements and the important role played by CSIR employees in various categories in support of the CSIR mandate.
A group of CSIR researchers who developed the Health Patient Registration System (HPRS) to capture patients’ demographic details and record patients’ visits in a bid to reduce long queues at clinics, scooped the Outstanding Impact Excellence Award.
Working with the Department of Health, the team has rolled out the HPRS at clinics throughout the country. To date, the system is working in more than 3 000 clinics nationally and has 26 million patient registrations.
Other winning teams include cybercrime experts who contributed to the establishment of the cybersecurity capability for the City of Johannesburg and researchers who worked on the Home Affairs Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS). They both scooped the Collaboration Excellence Award.
The cybercrime experts established the cybersecurity capability, which includes the definition of requirements, specifications, implementation and live deployment of the capability, and sustaining it via enterprise development and industrialisation of CSIR technologies in the client environment.
The ABIS team worked with the Department of Home Affairs, SITA and other law enforcement agencies to come up with a new unique identification system to capture and process fingerprint biometrics. The system is now used by many government departments, public entities and private financial institutions to verify identity for certain transactions or to identify people at crime scenes.
Winners in other categories include…
Human Capital Development Excellence Award
Principal researcher, Dr Dalu Mancama won the award. He is responsible for employing highly innovative high-throughput technologies in molecular cell biology to develop solutions for key health challenges. He has trained and supervised a significant number of students from internship to studentship programmes; and staff from candidate to senior researchers. Over the years, Dr Mancama has played a key role in supervising, mentoring and supporting the development of young and newly established researchers at various levels of the career ladder. This includes nine postgraduate research interns, 18 researchers from candidate to senior research levels and 11 researchers under formal degrees at MSc or PhD level.
Doctoral Student Excellence Award
This award recognises a Doctoral student for the research contribution made as part of their studies. Zamaswazi Tshabalala, who is working on a key challenge within the gas-sensing community for her PhD work, took this award. She is looking at the fabrication of titanium dioxide hierarchical nanostructures with enhanced gas-sensing properties to bridge the selectivity and stability challenge faced by gas sensors.
Innovation Excellence Award by an Individual or Team
This award recognises the achievements of an individual or team for the development of a technological breakthrough, new product or process or other form of intellectual property or knowledge product that has been translated into innovation and applied in society.
Dr Philip Labuschagne won this award for the role he played in the development of a new and novel encapsulation process for probiotics, vitamins and other sensitive active ingredients to improve the stability and efficacy of the active ingredient.
Career Achievement Award
This award recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to their career and / or career field and sustained this contribution over a period of time. This was awarded to Dr Sisa Pityana who was instrumental in the acquisition of the first additive manufacturing laser platform in South Africa (the LENS). The laser is currently being used by many in the country for student teaching and degree acquisition.