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Local researcher wins prestigious “Science Oscar”

News - Date: 13 July 2018

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A Louis Trichardt-based team member of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Wendy Collinson, was the recipient of a “Science Oscar”. She received the TW Kambule-NSTF Award for the best Emerging Researcher during the recent National Science and Technology (NSTF) awards.

The NSTF-South32 Awards gala dinner took place in Gauteng on 28 June to celebrate the most outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology (SET), and innovation. This is the 20th anniversary celebration of the awards, which are the largest SET and innovation awards in South Africa. They are known as the ‘Science Oscars’ and this year were presented by the Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, who is the event’s patron.

Wendy scooped the prestigious award for her work in establishing and running the EWT’s Wildlife and Roads Project, which aims to reduce the negative impacts of transport infrastructure on wildlife, and ultimately improve driver safety through a reduction in wildlife-vehicle-collisions (WVCs).

Wendy is overseeing numerous research projects that examine the impacts of roads in South Africa, in order to develop solutions to reduce roadkill. Most of her projects involve collaborations with stakeholders in the transport sector, as well as academia, regarding the design of future developments. This body of knowledge is informing the development and planning decisions around future road design, which will lessen the impact of roads on South African fauna and flora.

“It is an honour to be nominated, it is an outstanding achievement to reach the finals, and an exceptional milestone and celebration of excellence to win one of these awards,” said Wendy.

The EWT was also recognised as a finalist in the NSTF-GreenMatter Award category, for its outstanding contribution to the Groen Sebenza Initiative, an innovative project aimed at developing skills and bridging the gap between education and job opportunities in the biodiversity sector which was initiated by the Department of Environmental Affairs in 2013.

With numerous research projects across the African continent, the EWT strives to undertake high-quality scientific studies and frequently publishes scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals. “Through our partnerships with academic institutions, we ensure that our scientific understanding is innovative and contributes towards finding solutions to some of the challenges we face in conservation. Through initiatives like Groen Sebenza, we safeguard our conservation champions of the future and provide opportunities to expand their knowledge, and learn from the best,” said Wendy.


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Louis Trichardt resident Wendy Collinson-Jonker (front with trophy) of the Wildlife and Roads Project wins the prestigious TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Emerging Researcher at the National Science and Technology (NSTF) awards.




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