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Young UJ engineer wins prestigious NRF award

Dr Thandiwe Sithole

Dr Thandiwe Sithole from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has won the prestigious 2023 National Research Foundation (NRF) Research Excellence Award for Early Career/Emerging Researchers in the female Engineering category.

Dr Sithole is a senior lecturer in the UJ Department of Chemical Engineering Technology.

Said Prof Sarah Gravett, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation at the University of Johannesburg (UJ): “By working with experts with diverse viewpoints, Dr Sithole contributes to bringing fresh perspectives and practical solutions to complex problems faced by ordinary people in South Africa.

“This in turn enables the implementation of effective programs and interventions that can positively impact the lives of the majority, promote socio-economic development, and drive inclusive growth in the country.”

Dr Sithole focuses on the upcycling of industrial waste (valorisation of waste), the circular economy, and wastewater treatment in her research. She employs an innovative research methodology and addresses complex problems in a practical and impactful way. She collaborates with experts from various fields for an effective interdisciplinary approach.

“I believe in finding sustainable solutions to our environmental challenges. Growing up, I witnessed the effects of pollution and felt driven to make a positive impact. The inspiration to pursue this field came from my undergraduate final year research project and a deep desire to contribute towards creating a cleaner and healthier world,” said Dr Sithole.

This award recognises outstanding research performance by current Early Career/Emerging Researchers in any discipline, who are NRF grant holders.

Through this award, the NRF aspires to develop and enhance the research stature of Early Career/Emerging Researchers, which among others, aims to redress historical imbalances in the South African researchers’ cohort.

See more about the NRF awards here:

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