Professor Pragashnie Govender (right) with her family, husband Sathiesh, mum and daughter, Giana Ruby.

UKZN Academic a Finalist for Science Oscar

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UKZN Occupational Therapy academic Professor Pragashnie Govender is a finalist in the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) South 32 Research Awards – also known as the Science Oscars.

The NSTF awards, sponsored by mining and metals company South 32, recognise excellence and outstanding contributions to Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) and innovation in South Africa. The awards are rated as the largest, most comprehensive and sought-after of their kind in the country.

Previously they were always presented at a glittering gala dinner but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 presentation will take place online on 30 July.

‘I feel blessed,’ said Govender.  ‘To be a finalist, the candidate needs to be considered by the adjudication panel as eligible for the award. This means that the nominee has made a significantly outstanding contribution to SET and innovation in South Africa and qualifies to be considered as a potential winner.’

The former Academic Leader of Research in the School of Health Sciences is short-listed as a finalist in the categoryTW Kambule-NSTF Award: Emerging Researcher.

Govender, who was first runner-up in the South African Women in Science Awards in 2018, won the NRF Research Excellence Award for Next Generation Researcher in the female category in 2016.

Govender says her family is her constant support and source of inspiration.

‘My story is one of very humble beginnings and many challenges. It’s in moments like these I realise I have been inevitably shaped by the many people who I have had the privilege of encountering during my life, especially a line of resilient women who strived in the face of adversity to give me the opportunities I have had,’ she added.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied