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Bambesiwe May Scoops the South African Women in Science Award

Bambesiwe May, Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow at Mintek has won the esteemed South African Women in Science Awards (SAWISA) under the Department of Science and Innovation DSI-Ndoni Mcunu Fellowships: Doctoral Awards category. The awards were presented by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande at the event held in Durban on 08 September.

Speaking at the event, Dr Nzimande said that the awards celebrate women who are contributing immensely to the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) sector.

Themed, “Harnessing technological change and innovation to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls," the awards recognises younger women who are starting their careers as researchers and scientists, as well as registered master's and PhD students.

Bambesiwe considers herself fortunate to be among the 26 women who won in various categories.  She said, “I feel excited to have received this award, I am grateful that my hard work and years of research are now being recognised."

For her, the recognition serves as a testament of her dedication to advancing knowledge in the field of chemistry and material science and her commitment to empowering women and girls in science. “My passion for research and eagerness to promote empowerment of young women by inspiring them to pursue careers in science is what has earned me this award," she said.

Bambesiwe's research is carried out at Mintek as part of the PhD in chemistry she is pursuing through Unisa. Her research is centred on producing materials for monitoring pollutants and water remediation. She has published four peer reviewed journal articles from her PhD work, co-authored three book chapters and co-authored three peer reviewed journal articles. Furthermore, the work has also been presented in various conference platforms.

In total she has contributed to 20 publications, addressing material synthesis and application of functional materials in biology, and environmental science especially relating to pollutant sensing and water remediation. “I am grateful to Mintek for supporting me with an opportunity to conduct research through science votes" she added.

The outcomes of the PhD studies sparked her interest in exploring “industrial waste beneficiation", which is one of the Mintek Science Vote projects she is currently working on. She also mentors and supervises MSc students which has given her the opportunity to transfer knowledge and give support and guidance to other students.

With Mintek's support, she has been able to conduct her PhD research while generating valuable technical skills and research information. “My PhD research at Mintek has given her the opportunity to collaborate with experienced scientists, enabling her to form strong industry relationships," she concludes.