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The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment is collaborating with the Faculty of Health and Wellness Sciences to manufacture medical ventilators which are much needed in the coronavirus fight.

Thursday, 07 May 2020

Outstanding research recognised

Department of Chemistry lecturer, Prof Vernon Somerset’s contribution to his field has been recognised with a nomination for the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)-South32 South32) Awards. 

Emerging researcher Prof Izak van Zyl has been nominated for a ‘Science Oscar’ for a second consecutive year.

Department of Chemical Engineering Senior Lecturer, Dr Mahabubur Chowdhury is “honoured” to find himself among the nominees for the National Science and Technology Forum(NSTF-South32 South32) Awards.

Prof Jeanine Marnewick loves spreading the word about Rooibos and its health properties and her passion has earned her a nomination for a prestigious award.


Marnewick, Director of the Applied Microbial and Health Biotechnology Institute and Research Chair: Biotechnology, is in the running for the Communication Award of the National Science and Technology Foundation (NSTF)-South 32 Awards.


The awards were established in 1998 as a collaborative effort to recognise outstanding contributions to Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) and innovation by SET-related professionals and organisations in South Africa.

Marnewick was nominated and chosen as a finalist in the same category in 2018.

“Elucidating the health properties and substantiating health claims around Rooibos as well as disseminating these findings are the key objectives of our research. Rooibos, a proudly South African herbal tea now adopted under the Nagoya Protocol, serves as a complementary strategy to ensure increased daily intake of important bio-actives as a health promoting and/or disease preventing option,” she says.

She raises public awareness about her work mainly through print media, broadcast media and the Internet in addition to invited formal lectures, and public/lay presentations.

“Each of these communications ultimately have the purpose of informing the public, the consumer, and the industries of new contributions our research studies have made to the field. Accessibility is a critical factor in these communications and as such I avail myself to the media, and through the years I have built good relationships with various journalists and promotions/media companies.”

Marnewick believes that through effective communication, societies and local industries are benefiting from the research outcomes. She adds that for the consumer this means providing them with scientifically substantiated information to make a better-informed choice/decision about what consumer goods to buy that will contribute to their overall health.


For the industries the scientific outcomes and communications serve as value additions to their rooibos products, be it the farmer, the producers or the niche area such as beauty and health.

Asked about her career highlights, Marnewick said there had been many but in the communication environment it has “been the knowledge growth I have experienced over the past few years of the consumer and industry about the health promoting properties of Rooibos. This is a clear indication that the research we are doing is relevant and important to our communities and industries.”

Prof Victoria Jideani’s pioneering research has earned her three nominations for the NSTF-South 32 Awards, known as the Science Oscars of South Africa.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Sanitiser project set in motion

The shortage of sanitisers in retail shops, as well as a spike in the price of the product by some stockists, have prompted the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment to produce sanitisers for use during and after the lockdown period.