Recognition for Outstanding Work

UFS strip research

Several UFS academia have excelled in their respective fields and received recognition for their outstanding work.


Prof Abdon Atangana, Professor in the Institute for Groundwater Studies, was elected a fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) in 2021, in recognition of his contribution to science and its promotion in the developing world.

Prof Philippe Burger, Professor of Economics and Pro-Vice-Chancellor: Poverty, Inequality and Economic Development, has been appointed to serve on the Fiscal Policy and Financial Markets task force of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission.

Dr Johan Coetzee, Senior Lecturer and researcher in the Department of Economics and Finance and the UFS Business School, was nominated as a senior member of the inaugural Pan-African Scientific Research Council.

Herkulaas Combrink, attached to the Office of the Dean of Economic and Management Sciences and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Digital Futures, has been seconded to the Free State Department of Health to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic by providing senior strategic data science support. He was also nominated as a BRICS Young Scientist for 2020.

Dr Innocent Dande, scholar in the International Studies Group, has been named the 2021 winner of the JSAS Colin Murray Prize for his research on food politics in Zimbabwe.

Prof Liezel Herselman, Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences, was awarded the Southern African Plant Breeders’ Association Fellow Award in 2020, in recognition of her contribution to plant breeding in Southern Africa.

Dr WA Lombard from the Department of Agricultural Economics was a winner of the Joseph F Donnermeyer New Scholar Award from the International Society for the Study of Rural Crime.

Prof Rodwell Makombe from the Department of English on the Qwaqwa Campus won the 2021 UFS Book Prize for his book Cultural Texts of Resistance in Zimbabwe – Music, Memes, and Media.

Prof Kobus Marais, Professor of Translation Studies in the Department of Linguistics and Language Practice, was awarded the 2020 UFS Book Prize for Distinguished Scholarship.

Prof Motlalepule Matsabisa, Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, was appointed by the Minister of Health to serve as a technical expert in traditional medicines for the Department of Health’s international and local initiatives.

Dr Champion Nyoni from the School of Nursing won the Sigma Emerging Nurse Researcher/Scholar Award in 2020.

Prof Paul Oberholster, Director of the Centre for Environmental Management, won the NSTF-WRC Award 2019/2020 for outstanding contribution to science, engineering, and technology and innovation in South Africa in terms of sustainable water management, knowledge generation, and solutions. He was also nominated in 2021 for his contribution to water resource management in South Africa over the past five years.

Dr Sipho Pitjana was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (DPhil [h.c.]) by the UFS in 2021.

Prof Zakkie Pretorius, Research Fellow in the Department of Plant Sciences, has been nominated for the 2019/2020 NSTF-South 32 Award in two categories – Plant Health as well as the Lifetime category.

Prof Mamello Sekhoacha, Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, was elected chairperson of the National Health Research Ethics Council of South Africa (NHREC) in 2021.

Prof Pearl Sithole, Vice-Principal: Academic and Research on the Qwaqwa Campus, was appointed by Pope Francis as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in recognition of her work in the Social Sciences.

Dr Rebecca Swartz, scholar in the International Studies Group, won the 2020 Grace Abbott Book Prize (best book in English) from the Society for the History of Children and Youth, and the International Standing Conference for the History of Education First Book Award for her book, Education and Empire: Children, Race and Humanitarianism in the British Settler Colonies 1833-1880. The book was also nominated for the History of Education Society’s Kevin Brehony Prize for the best first single-authored book written in English on the history of education.

Prof Ivan Turok, SARChI Chair in City-Region Economies, was shortlisted for the NSTF Lifetime Award in 2021.

Dr Dolf van Niekerk was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (DLitt [h.c.]) by the UFS in 2021.

Dr Adelheid von Maltitz, Lecturer in the Department of Fine Arts, was awarded the Group A Absa L’Atelier Award in 2021.

Prof Melanie Walker, Distinguished Professor and SARChI Chair on Higher Education and Human Development, was elected President of the International Human Development and Capability Association.

Justice Zak Yacoob was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (LLD [h.c.]) by the UFS in 2021.


Contact us

Dr Glen Taylor
Senior Director: Research Development
T: +27 51 401 9778

Tebogo Machethe
Director: Research Contracts and Innovation
T: +27 51 401 2524

Johannes Brill Building, First Floor, Bloemfontein Campus

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