Skip to main content

The SAMRC Scientific Merit Awards brings its 10th salutation for the ones who serve in health research science

10th SAMRC cientific Merit AwardsOn 7 March 2024, the South African Medical Council held its 10th scientific merit awards to honour some of the best scientific research in South Africa especially in health sciences.

Through these prestigious awards, the SAMRC aims to acknowledge outstanding contributions to health research, recognise individuals who have demonstrated exceptional scientific acumen or made innovative strides in addressing public health challenges, potentially influencing policy and enhancing the well-being of the South African population.

The SAMRC President and CEO, Prof Glenda Gray said medical research remains fundamental for transformation, innovation and collaboration in advancing scientific discovery.

“Celebrating medical research excellence not only honours the achievements of researchers but also inspires progress, fosters collaboration, and enhances the overall impact of scientific advancements on global health and well-being,” said Prof Gray.

President and Special Awards

This year’s SAMRC President’s Award was conferred to Dr Phil Mjwara, Director General at the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) for his visionary leadership in promoting science in South Africa.

Dr Mjwara has been the Director-General at the DSI for 18 years being responsible for all policy development in the science and technology sector in South Africa. He has made significant contributions to the South African National System of Innovation. Throughout his career, Dr Mjwara has worked hard to ensure that the benefits of science are applied for the inclusive well-being of the country and its researchers.

Two special awards were also presented. The first one went to Glaudina Loots, DSI Director of Health Innovation, in appreciation for her support and leadership in health research in the country. The second one went to SAMRC’s former Chief Financial Officer, Nick Buick, who went on retirement recently after more than 10 years of service at the company.  

Loots is responsible for the implementation of the health components of the Bioeconomy strategy for South Africa and she was instrumental in the creation of the Strategic Health Innovation Partnership Initiative at the SAMRC, a programme that funds and manages innovation projects that are focused on the development of new drugs, treatments, vaccines, medical devices, and prevention strategies.

With Buick, the SAMRC doubled its annual funding to approximately R1.1bn by 2019/20 and accomplished consecutive clean audits as certified by the Auditor General. The SAMRC also received a Certificate of Excellence award in Public Finance Management from the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2016/17.

Platinum awards recipients:

The Platinum Lifetime Achievement Award is for an outstanding scientist who has raised the profile of South African science and helped build the foundations of health research in the country for future generations. This year’s recipients are Prof Frank Brombacher, Prof Rachel Jewkes and Prof Estelle Lambert.

The Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal award recipients:

Gold medals are reserved for accomplished senior scientists who have made seminal contributions that have had a profound impact on the health of people, particularly those residing in developing nations. Awarded in this category were, Professors Alan Christoffels, Anthony Okoh, Cheryl Cohen, Mark Tomlinson, Ncoza Dlova, Pascal Bessong, Wendy Stevens, Stephen Tollman and Professor Penny Moore.

Silver medals are dedicated to scientists who have made important scientific contributions within 10 years of having been awarded their PhD or Master of Medicine (MMed). This year, the award recipients are Prof David Katerere, Dr Jinal Bhiman, Prof Robert Mash, Prof Kogieleum Naidoo, Prof Nicola Mulder, Prof Nigel Garrett, Dr Sibongile Walaza, Prof Wendy Burgers, and Prof Yandisa Sikweyiya.

The Bronze medals are awarded to scientists who have recently entered the health research field, with not less than five years post PhD experience. Taking a bow in this category were, Dr Maxleene Sandasi, Dr Duduzile Ndwandwe, Prof Nelita Du Plessis, Prof Olanrewaju Oladimeji, Prof Shahida Moosa, Dr Waasila Jassat, and Dr Yoshan Moodley.

Commenting about the awards, the SAMRC Board Chairperson, Professor Johnny Mahlangu, conveyed pride and admiration for the winners.

“I am filled with profound gratitude and admiration for the remarkable achievements we have witnessed at these awards. Allow me to extend my heartfelt thanks to each of you for your unwavering commitment to advancing the frontiers of science and medicine,” said Prof Mahlangu.

10th SAMRC Scientific Merit Award Winners

10th SAMRC Scientific Merit Awards

Release date

Press release archives