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Alan Pifer Research Award

The award is the Vice-Chancellor's annual prize in recognition of outstanding welfare-related research. It highlights the strategic goal of promoting socially responsive research, and honours a UCT researcher whose outreach work has contributed to the advancement and welfare of South Africa's disadvantaged people.

About Pifer

The prize was established to honour Alan Pifer, philanthropist and former president of long-term UCT benefactors, the Carnegie Corporation. He died in 2005.

Throughout Pifer's career, his focus was on social justice and strengthening the rights of historically disadvantaged groups, including women. Pifer also established the UCT Fund, which raises funds in the US to support black students and to promote the advancement and welfare of disadvantaged groups.

2015

Ingrid WoolardProfessor Ingrid Woolard, Dean of Faculty of Commerce

Ingrid Woolard, Professor in the School of Economics and Dean of Commerce, won the 2015 Alan Pifer Award for her notable contributions to the analysis of poverty and inequality, and unemployment in South Africa, and the way she used her data to undertake a number of highly influential research papers to carry her work through to official policy work.
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2014

Professors Robin Wood and Linda-Gail Bekker, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), Faculty of Health Sciences

Emeritus Professor Robin Wood and Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, director and deputy-director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, won the 2014 Alan Pifer Award for excellence in Research, treatment, training and prevention of HIV-related diseases and infections in Southern Africa, Their journey has taken them from the dark days of AIDS denial to an important moment in the history of the epidemic.
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2013

Professor Crick Lund, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences

Professor Crick Lund, director of the Alan J Flisher Centre for Mental Health, was awarded for his work in addressing the treatment gap for people with mental illness in low- and middle-income countries.
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2012

Emeritus Professor Eric Bateman, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences

Emeritus Professor Eric Bateman is a world-leading pulmonologist whose most important work has tackled the challenges of respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and tuberculosis. He founded the UCT Lung Institute in 2000, which has since become an international beacon of innovative research.
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2011

Professor Kelly Chibale, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Under the leadership of Professor Kelly Chibale, the Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3-D) strives to train a new generation of African scientists with the skills required to combat Africa's high burden of disease. The goal is to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical studies and ensure the pipeline of drug discovery and development remains on the continent.
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2010

Professor Sue Parnell, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, Faculty of Science

According to Professor Sue Parnell, Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences and Executive Committee member of the African Centre for Cities, a city can be governed to promote inclusion and provide for the urban poor, but this requires careful planning  and understanding of how resources are managed and used.
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2009

Professor Dan Stein, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences

Psychiatric disorders account for the third largest portion of South Africa's disease burden. Yet mental disorders remain the most stigmatised and grossly neglected of medical conditions. Professor Dan Stein, head of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, has dedicated more than 20 years of his life to the study of mental illness, with work ranging from clinical neuroscience through to public mental health.
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2008

Professor Raj Ramesar, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences

Professor Raj Ramesar, head of the Division of Human Grenetics and director of the UCT/MRC Human Genetics Research Unit, discovered a common genetic mutation linked to colorectal cancer in some of the most neglected communities in the Northern Cape of South Africa. In response he developed an intervention programme which successfully lowered mortality and morbidity in those communities.
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2007

Professors Pippa Skotnes and Mark Fleishman, Michaelis School of Fine Art and Department of Drama, Faculty of Humanities

Every year in the small Western Cape town of Clanwilliam local schoolchildren take part in workshops hosted by UCT's arts and drama departments, which culminate in the annual Spring Festival in which the children of the town use their new arts and drama skills to tell the stories of San hunter-gatherers, the oldest inhabitants of southern Africa. Professor Pippa Skotnes, director of the Centre for Curating the Archive and Professor Mark Fleishman, programme convener for Theatre and Performance in the Department of Drama won the award for their role in developing this annual event.
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2006

Professor Timm Hoffman, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science

Professor Timm Hoffman, Leslie Hill Chair of Plant Conservation, Department of Biological Sciences, won the Alan Pifer Award for his work on the use of natural resources in the communal areas of South Africa; the impact of land degradation on people's lives and his continued efforts to ensure his research contains an active and relevant rural development component.

 

2005

Professor Alan Flisher, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences

It was for his work on the epidemiology of high-risk behaviour among adolescents, particularly related to sexual behaviour and substance abuse, and on public mental health in the South African context, that the late Professor Alan Flisher, former Sue Struengmann Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, received this award.  
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2004

Professor David Chidester, Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities

Professor David Chidester, Chair of Religious Studies, is an international figure in the field of comparative religion. He made an important contribution to the development of policy in the crucial area of religion and education, designed to increase tolerance and protect learners from discrimination on the basis of their religion.
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2003

Professors Murray Leibbrandt and Haroon Bhorat, School of Economics, Faculty of Commerce

Professor Murray Leibbrandt, DST/NRF SARChI Chair in Poverty and Inequality, and Professor Haroon Bhorat, director of the Development Policy Research Unit and DST/NRF SARChI Chair in Economic Growth, were awarded the Alan Pifer for their work conducting international quality analysis of survey data to better understand the relationship between the labour market and the reproduction of poverty and inequality in South Africa.
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2001

Emeritus Professor Sandra Burman

Children's rights are enshrined in the South African constitution, and the country boasts progressive legislation, policies and programmes that on paper serve to protect children. Yet the high levels of violence, sexual abuse, exploitation and neglect perpetrated against children in country tell a different story. The late emeritus professor, Sandra Burman, former director of the Centre for Socio-Legal Research, dedicated much of her life's work to bridging the divide between rights on paper and the systems charged with ensuring their implementation.

 

2000

Professors Nicoli Nattrass and Jeremy Seekings, School of Economics and Department of Sociology, Faculty of Commerce and Faculty of Humanities

South Africa has always been a country of insiders and outsiders, and today one of the biggest fault lines in society is between the employed and the unemployed. For Nicoli Nattrass, professor of economics in the Centre for Social Science Research (CSSR) and her husband, Jeremy Seekings, professor of political studies and sociology and director of the CSSR, the burning question remains: how does government policy shape this divide, and who 'wins' and who 'loses' in South Africa. 


1999

Emeritus Professor John Parkington, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Science

In the mid-1990s John Parkington, emeritus professor in the Department of Archeology, launched the Living Landscapes project which entrenched the remarkable archeological work going on in the small Western Cape town of Clanwilliam into the local community. The Living Landscapes project aims to raise awareness of the history of the region and boost the economy and employment levels.


1998

Professor Lynnette Denny, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Health Sciences

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in developing countries, yet it is a largely preventable disease. Professor Lynnette Denny, head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, won the Alan Pifer Award for her work in developing a low-cost medical procedure to screen for cervical cancer.

 

1997

Dr Farieda Kahn, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, Faculty of Science

In developing countries such as South Africa, access to environmental advice and scientific expertise tends to be a luxury of the rich. The irony of this is that those groups most dependent on, and at risk from, their environments are often the most disadvantaged in a society. Under the leadership of Dr Farieda Kahn, the Environmental Advisory Unit in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science provided environmental advice to poor communities.

 

1996

Professor Leslie London, Department of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences

South African farmworkers remain one of the country's most vulnerable groups. One serious risk faced by farmworkers is exposure to pesticides, Professor Leslie London, head of the Division of Public Health Medicine, was awarded the Alan Pifer Award for his research into farmworkers' exposure to hazardous pesticides - work that resulted in improved health and safety measures for the group.


1994

Professor George Ekama, Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment

South Africa is running out of water. A recent Department of Water and Sanitation report revealed that demand for water has overtaken supply in 60% of South Africa's water management systems. George Ekama, professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, has focused his career on finding solutions to South Africa's wastewater problem.


1993

Emeritus Professor Jonathan Myers, Department of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences

Workplace exposure to substances that are hazardous to human health has ruined the lives of thousands of vulnerable workers. It is in part thanks to the important work done by Emeritus Professor Jonny Myers, former director of the Occupational and Environmental Health Unit, that organised workers were able to push for better health and safety at work.

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