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Wits Scientist Scoops Top Award
Source: The Good News
Source Date: Monday, November 01, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Nov 02, 2010

Hildebrandt, a recipient of the 2009 African Union Scientific Award and winner of the 2009 Woman Scientist of the Year award was the co-recipient of the award along with Professor Eugene Cloete.

ASSAf annually awards up to two ASSAf Science-for-Society Gold Medals for outstanding achievement in science that benefits society. ASSAf is the official national Academy of Science and represents the country in the international community of science academies. The Academy was inaugurated in May 1996 by the former president of South Africa and patron of the Academy, Nelson Mandela. It was formed in response to the need for an academy of science that would be activist in its mission of using science for the benefit of society.

An elated Hildebrandt says she is humbled to be recognised amongst equally deserving scientists. "There are many people doing great things for science in South Africa and Africa. I look forward to continuing with the mission and work on improving the lives of all especially in mitigating the challenges of energy and food security," says Hildebrandt.

Her research over the last 25 years has focused on improving the efficiency of equipment and chemical processes. Her work is of particular importance for Africa and is being used to help solve Africa's energy and food needs.

Hildebrandt is the Co-Director of the Centre of Material and Process Synthesis, (COMPS) in the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering and leads the Centre's academic and consultant research teams for the resolution of focused short and long term research projects.

She obtained her BSc and PhD in Engineering and Chemical Engineering from Wits and is widely published locally and abroad. She is the first female chemical engineer to have been awarded an A-rating by South Africa's National Research Foundation.

Hildebrandt has supervised and co-supervised 55 postgraduate students who have received masters and PhDs in Engineering and Science. She currently supervises 40 postgraduate students of whom about half are South African and the other half from the rest of Africa. These students are funded mostly by the COMPS group, that is co-directed by Hildebrandt. The group raises more than R1.5 million rand annually to fund bursaries for academically excellent, needy students.


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