SAMRC Scientific Merit Awards nominations now open

The nominations for the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) 2023 Scientific Merit Awards are now open.

These awards are aimed at acknowledging outstanding contributions to health research.

The awards recognise individuals who have demonstrated exceptional scientific acumen and have made innovative strides in addressing public health challenges, potentially influencing policy and thereby enhancing the well-being of the South African population.

Eligible candidates are pioneering researchers who have significantly advanced the realm of science and health research through their published work, with a focus on benefiting the lives of South Africans.

The accolades, widely regarded as some of the most prestigious in the country, encompass several tiers. These include Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and the esteemed President’s Awards.

Platinum medals, symbolising the Lifetime Achievement Award, are bestowed upon scientists who have exhibited a lifelong dedication to the field of health, leaving an indelible mark.

Respected academics, such as the late Professor Bongani Mayosi, along with Professors Valerie Mizrahi, Salim Abdool Karim and others, have previously been honoured with the Platinum Award accolade.

Gold medals are reserved for accomplished senior scientists, who have made seminal contributions that have had a profound impact on the health of people, particularly those residing in developing nations.

Last year, this award went to Professors Bavesh Kana, Elmi Muller, Sharon Prince and Ameena Goga.

Silver medals are dedicated to scientists who have played pivotal roles in scientific progress within the country, with an emphasis on fostering capacity development. Notable awardees in 2022 were Professors Theresa Rossouw and Samantha Sampson and Drs Tarylee Reddy and Muki Shey.

The Bronze medals are awarded to scientists who have recently entered the health research field, with not less than five years post PhD experience.

While this award is not tied to chronological age, researchers should preferably be under the age of 50 years.

Last year’s recipients were Professors Lebo Gafane-Matemane, Tivani Mashamba-Thompson, Lusilda Schutte and Drs Terusha Chetty, Wynand Goosen and Wanga Zembe-Mkabile.

President’s Awards are conferred upon scientists who have exhibited an exceptional, lifelong commitment to health research and are granted at the discretion of the presiding SAMRC President and CEO.

In 2022, the sought-after President’s Award was bestowed on Professors Valerie Corfield and Johan Louw.

Corfield is a retiree who continues to serve in advancing research outputs and the research careers of academics in molecular and cell biology, health sciences and other disciplines.

Meanwhile, Louw is a biomedical scientist who serves as the Senior Platform Director at the Centre and Platforms Office at the SAMRC. His expertise and focal research areas are in the area of pathophysiology of metabolic disease, diabetes prevention, early diagnosis and treatment.

SAMRC President and CEO, Professor Glenda Gray, underscores that these awards honour research characterised by innovative methodologies and novel approaches in addressing public health issues, with the potential to influence policy and ultimately enhance the quality of life for South Africans.

“As we celebrate a decade of the SAMRC Scientific Merit Awards, these awards stand as a testament to the power of dedication, innovation and collaboration in advancing scientific discovery.

“Our honourees have illuminated the path towards healthier futures for all, embodying the spirit of excellence that drives us forward. With each passing year, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering a culture of scientific excellence and shaping a world where knowledge knows no bounds,” said Gray.

More information about nominations can be found on

Source: South African Government News Agency