Prestigious Sardinian Award for School of Engineering Head
The award is conferred on Sardinians living abroad who have, through their work, brought attention and recognition to the region of Sardinia and its culture.
Originally from Sardinia, Trois said she was proud and honoured to be the 16th recipient of the award. Previous winners have included academics, scientists, artists, politicians, presidents and prime ministers, professionals and celebrities.
A panel comprising writers, publishers and directors of leading Sardinian newspapers as well as representatives from professional orders and institutions, selects the winner.
The name and symbol of the award comes from a small, ancient boat called a navicella, used in prehistoric times by Nuragic Sardinians to reach the Peninsula which links them to the rest of the world. The award signifies the affinity of Sardinians for their homeland and connection to one another.
Trois, who has been at UKZN for more than 20 years, is the first female Dean of Engineering at UKZN and runs initiatives such as the Engineering is a Girl Thing programme to encourage young women to pursue Science and Engineering. She was a first runner-up in the 2016 Department of Science and Technology’s Women in Science Awards.
Trois is known for her work in the Environmental Engineering field, focusing on Waste Management and Water/Wastewater Engineering and Treatment. Her contributions to waste science, resource recovery and energy from waste include the development of the innovative “cellular method” of landfilling adopted in Durban’s landfill sites.
She contributed to the first leachate treatment plant in South Africa, and to the first African, World Bank-funded ‘landfill-gas-to-electricity project’ through which the city of Durban produces 10MW of electricity from waste. She is also working on the multi-national research endeavour: the Hub for the African City of the Future.
A C2 NRF-rated researcher, Trois established the multidisciplinary Centre for Research in Environmental, Coastal and Hydrological Engineering (CRECHE) in 2001, together with two colleagues. She also established a state-of-the-art analytical laboratory for Environmental Engineering research.
Trois, currently supervising 20 postgraduate students and researchers, participates in groups including engineering councils, royal societies, waste management institutes and the United Nations.
She is an editor and reviewer for numerous journals and institutions, and has international collaborators in Italy, the United Kingdom, India, Germany, France and Switzerland.
Words: Christine Cuénod