SA scientists win top AU award

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has congratulated two South African scientists for winning the prestigious African Union (AU) Scientific Awards.

Patrick Eriksson and Diane Hildebrandt won first prize in the science, technology and innovation category. They were chosen from 48 contestants from across the continent for the outstanding work in their fields.

Zuma handed the scientists their awards during a ceremony on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the AU Summit is currently taking place.

The awards resonated the theme of the summit which focuses on improving Africa's Information and Communication Technologies infrastructure.

Zuma commended the two saying they had contributed in flying the South African flag internationally.

"Science, technology and innovation form indispensable tools for driving socio-economic progress ... and is sustained by adequate and competent human capital," said Zuma.

Hildebrandt is co-director at the centre for optimisation modelling and process synthesis at Wits University and Eriksson is head of the Geology department at the University of Pretoria.

The two will receive $100 000 each for their achievements from the AU.