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Monday, 08 November 2021

CPUT wins big at NRF awards

RESEARCH EXCELLENCE: National Research Foundation (NRF) Board  Chairperson, Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh with  CPUT’s Dr Moses Basitere, Dr Tebogo Mashifana (University of Johannesburg)  and Dr Fhulufhelo Nelwamondo (NRF CEO). RESEARCH EXCELLENCE: National Research Foundation (NRF) Board Chairperson, Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh with CPUT’s Dr Moses Basitere, Dr Tebogo Mashifana (University of Johannesburg) and Dr Fhulufhelo Nelwamondo (NRF CEO).

CPUT Research Fellow, Dr Moses Basitere is a recipient of the 2020 National Research Foundation (NRF) Award in recognition of exceptional performance in research at national level for an emerging researcher.

The foundation recently hosted the 2021 NRF Awards to celebrate South Africa’s top researchers and scientists. This year’s hybrid event had limited in-person guests in Pretoria and was live streamed to more than 500 virtual attendees. The ceremony celebrated 68 awardees across 10 categories. The annual ceremony recognises recent outstanding accomplishments produced by individuals and teams whose excellence has appreciably enhanced science for the benefit of society.

This includes their internationally competitive work, which is assessed for, among other things, the contribution to the field of study focusing on quality and impact. One of the objectives of the awards is to encourage the continued culture of advancing South Africa’s scientific knowledge and technological innovation by rewarding those that make use of research for the advancement and betterment of humanity.

Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh, Chairperson of the NRF Board said, “Amidst the despair and grief brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are also many stories of selflessness, kindness and courage that continue to restore our faith in humanity and inspire us to dream of a better tomorrow. Even during this turbulent time, our researchers have continued to nurture the country’s knowledge economy in many other scientific fields as well.”

Basitere, who leads the  Bioresource Engineering, said it’s the first time that CPUT has received this award and “I’m happy to have placed the work that is happening at CPUT at national level. This reminds me of the time when I was also accepted to the South African Young Academy of Science”.

“It’s the first time for a CPUT graduate was accepted and similarly the same work from the institution was made visible at national platforms,” Basitere continued.

 “I am grateful to my postgraduate supervisors, Prof [Marshall] Sheldon and Prof Karabo Ntwampe, who laid a firm foundation and passion for meaningful research that contributes to the development of our country. Hard work, dedication to both research and contributing to community development, through mentoring and creating awareness of science were key values that contributed to this award. The support from my family, the Basitere and Brown family cannot go unnoticed as it was my pillar of strength, propelling me to always thrive for excellence.”

Basitere obtained his Doctorate in Chemical Engineering from CPUT in 2018. His doctoral research focused on the efficiency of an anaerobic/aerobic hybrid membrane bioreactor system for treating poultry slaughterhouse wastewater in the Western Cape. Water usage for domestic and industrial applications is expected to increase, and consequently, the quantity and pollution load of wastewater will also increase. His research has addressed numerous challenges faced by the poultry slaughterhouse industry in South Africa and he has developed innovative technology that addresses some of these challenges treatment of water of wastewater from such slaughterhouses. 

In February, Basitere was appointed by the University of Cape Town as a Senior Lecturer, at the Academic Support for Engineering in Cape Town unit, under the Centre for Higher Education Development.

He said the award shows that the opportunities at CPUT can be opened for more people to contribute meaningfully thorough engagement in research for improving and developing the country. CPUT may have to reconsider reinforcing mentorship structurers to ensure that more people can take such opportunities.

The pursuit of knowledge, the need to solve new challenges and his passion for research excellence is what keep Basitere going. “Congratulations and well done to Dr Basitere on this wonderful achievement,” enthused Prof Marshall Sheldon, Dean of Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment

Written by Aphiwe Boyce