NRF Lifetime Achievement Award

The National Research Foundation (NRF) Lifetime Achievement Award recognises the research achievements of an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the development of science in and for South Africa over an extended period of time. The contribution must be of international standard and impact.


Emeritus Professor Michael Feast (2015)

Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Science

Michael Feast is listed in the international Who's Who, has had a minor planet named after him (Asteroid no. 10985 Feast, discovered from Mt Palomar in 1977), and has represented South African astronomy at the highest international level. As director of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) from 1976 to 1992 he was responsible for the development of SAAO as a major international and national facility.


Emeritus Professor Lionel Opie (2014)

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences

Lionel Opie of the Hatter Institute of Cardiology Research was described as "Africa's best known heart doctor" in the citation for the Order of Mapungubwe (Silver) in 2006 for his "excellent contribution to the knowledge of and achievement in the field of cardiology". He has received many awards that recognise his lifelong commitment to the lives of South Africans who suffer from heart disease.


Emeritus Professor Timothy Noakes (2012)

Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences

Timothy Noakes co-founded the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) and has produced more than 500 scientific publications, been cited more than 15 000 times in scientific literature, has an H-index of 66 and is rated an A1 scientist by the National Research Foundation of South Africa.


Emeritus Professor Njabulo Ndebele (2009)

Njabulo Ndebele, author and scholar and former vice-chancellor of UCT, was awarded the 2009 National Research Foundation (NRF) President's Award for Lifetime Achievement. One of South Africa's literary icons, Ndebele received worldwide acclaim for his work, which includes The Cry of Winnie Mandela, the children's book Bonolo & and the Peach Tree, Rediscovery of the Ordinary, and Fools & Other Stories. Ndebele has been active in international and African academic organisations, serving as president of the Association of African Universities and on the Association of Commonwealth Universities. His life's work has been acknowledged across the globe through awards and a clutch of honorary doctorates, including one from his alma mater, Cambridge University.

Research Excellence Award for Early Career or Emerging Researcher


Mark Engel

Associate Professor Mark Engel (2016)

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences

The expertise of Mark Engel lies in epidemiology and evidence-based medicine research methods. His research includes all aspects of rheumatic heart disease, with particular interest in Group A Streptococcus (GAS), the organism involved in disease development. Engel shares this award with Professor Nosipho Moloto of the University of the Witwatersrand.


Ntobeko Ntusi

Professor Ntobeko Ntusi (2015)

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences

Ntobeko Ntusi, of the Division of Cardiology within the Department of Medicine, received this award for his work in better understanding cardiovascular disease, particularly in an African setting. On receiving this award, Ntusi was in the process of completing his clinical training in cardiology and working to establish an independent research programme on the study of cardiomyopathies and myocarditis.

Champion of Research Capacity Development at South African Higher Education Institutions


Professor Kelly Chibale (2012)

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Under the leadership of Kelly Chibale, the Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3D) 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.


Professor Alison Lewis (2010)

Dean of Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment

Alison Emslie Lewis was honoured for her outstanding work in actively training, fostering and mentoring a number of black and female students in industrial crystallisation research.

Transformation of the Science Cohort


Professor Maano Ramutsindela (2013)

Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, Faculty of Science

Maano Ramutsindela was recognised for his work of attracting more black scientists to academia and helping them become leaders in their respective fields.


Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan (2012)

Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science

Head of the Department of Biological Science and author of Famous Dinosaurs of Africa, Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan was awarded the Transformation of the Science Cohort Award for her work in palaeobiology.


Professor Bongani Mayosi (2011)

Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences

Bongani Mayosi won the award for his contribution to science, engineering, technology and innovation (SETI) through management and related activities. His work focuses on building, managing and leading capacity development in research in the context of the Groote Schuur Hospital.