UP hosts first-ever virtual Academic Achievers’ Awards

UP hosts first-ever virtual Academic Achievers’ Awards

first-ever virtual Academic Achievers’ Awards at UP

the University of Pretoria (UP) held its annual Academic Achievers’ Awards virtually, for the first time in the institution’s history, By no means, however, was the significance of this prestigious event dampened by what Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe deems to have been “extraordinary circumstances”.

This is the first year that the awards ceremony is taking place under extraordinary circumstances. The world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and UP has not been left unscathed.

The awards are held to honour UP academics who have shone in their respective disciplines. This year, a total of 110 academics were acknowledged for being included on the list of the National Research Foundation (NRF)-rated scholars or for the outstanding work they had done over the past year.

The staff of UP and students have risen to the challenge with energy and passion to make a meaningful impact in the societies we live and operate in. Some final-year medical students from UP volunteered to man a hotline for people who had questions about COVID-19. The Department of Family Medicine developed a highly efficient COVID-19 screening protocol that provides holistic health support to communities in need.

Launching an app for homeless shelters

Furthermore, two UP students developed a mobile app for homeless shelters to access assistance during the pandemic. Also, an academic from the Department of Family Medicine developed a series of animated videos that aim to educate the public about COVID-19, and research conducted by four UP academics found a correlation between lower temperatures and the faster spread of the virus. It is actions such as these that ensure that UP continues to shine as an innovative university. This explains why the University continues to deliver excellence in research.

The guest speaker on the night was Professor Achille Mbembe, who is an NRF A1-rated researcher, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a distinguished author. In his brief address Prof Mbembe described the ceremony as a “celebration of an institution and of the great minds that constitute its soul and flesh”. He also highlighted the role played by academics like Prof Kupe in the sustainable development agenda, particularly in the context of the sustainability of the Earth’s natural resources.

Prof Kupe is helping to deepen the idea of the university in this planetary age. In the planetary age, we have to confront two issues. The first is planetary habitability, which speaks to the Earth we share, albeit unequally, and the way in which it needs care and repair.

Dr Molapo Qhobela, CEO of the NRF, was on hand to share a message and congratulate UP’s NRF-rated recipients. Four UP academics were awarded the coveted A-rating; six were awarded a B-rating; 55 were given a C-rating; three were awarded a P-rating; and 17 were given a Y-rating. The number of UP academics that received these ratings from the NRF cements the University’s position as the institution of choice for the country’s best researchers.

Source: up.ac.za

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