NSTF-South32 Awards
recognising outstanding contributions to
science, engineering and technology (SET) and innovation in South Africa


Today’s research … tomorrow’s innovation

What is new in the 2019/2020 round of Awards?

The 2020 Special Annual Theme Award will be made for research and development (R&D) and innovation in Plant Health. This Special Annual Theme Awards is made in recognition of the International Year of Plant Health (2020) declared by the United Nations.

There are no major changes to last year’s categories. However, please note the following:

  1. Green Economy AwardsThis Award was introduced last year and is continued this year. It comes as a continuation of a similar award in previous years.
  2. Communication AwardsPlease take note that for this category, there is a special call to professional science communicators to apply.
  3. Innovation Awards: We introduced a major change to the Innovation Category in 2017 and continue to place greater emphasis on ‘innovation’.
  4. Research categories: The time periods for each category are now clearly anchored to the commencement of the research career. There is no requirement for a PhD. All research categories are now open to anyone currently involved in research. We have continued with the strengthened focus on the further development of outputs towards innovations.


The deadline for online nomination registrations this year is 9 December 2019.  Fully completed nomination documents have to be submitted by the second deadline (2 March 2020), where after adjudication commence.

The Categories

Individual Research Awards

There are four sub-categories for individuals only, in research and its outputs and related fields. Contributions over a lifetime, research and its outputs for researchers and emerging researchers, as well as for management and related SET activities over defined periods.

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Engineering Research Capacity Development  Awards

The individuals must have demonstrated outstanding leadership in increasing the participation of young scientists and engineers in further research in an engineering field, over the past 5 to 10 years.

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The NSTF-Lewis Foundation Green Economy Research and Innovation Award

The NSTF-Green Economy Award recognises researchers and organisations working towards achieving biodiversity conservation, environmental sustainability and a green economy.

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NSTF-Water Research Commission Award

The Water Research Commission (WRC) has partnered with the NSTF to establish an award that acknowledges outstanding contributions towards sustainable water management, knowledge generation and solutions over the last 5 to 10 years.

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Data for Research Award

NSTF Award for an outstanding contribution to science, engineering and technology (SET) by advancing the availability, management and use of data for research

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Awards for Innovation and their Research and/or Development

These awards are made to teams or individuals in organisations (corporate and SMMEs) or working independently, who have made outstanding contributions to SET through innovations and their impacts, over the last 5 to 10 years. For assessment of these awards,  underlying research and/or development is taken into account where applicable.

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Communication Award

The NSTF Award for Communication for Outreach and Creating Awareness of science, engineering and technology (SET) and innovation.

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NGO Award

The NSTF NGO Award is for any non-governmental organisation which has made an outstanding contribution to science, engineering and technology (SET) and innovation in South Africa, including but not limited to technology transfer and education and training activities.

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Special Annual Theme Award

For 2020 this Award is made for a contribution to SET and Innovation which contributes to Plant Health.

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