Naicker Flies UKZN Flag High, Yet Again
The youngest Associate Professor at UKZN’s College of Health Sciences, Professor Tricia Naicker, was recently awarded the 2018 NRF Research Excellence Award for Early Career and Emerging Researcher in South Africa.
The award acknowledges outstanding research excellence by current Thuthuka grant holders. The Thuthuka funding instrument is central to the NRF’s Human Capital Development strategy in as far as it relates to enhancing the research stature of Early Career / Emerging Researchers from designated groups, with the aim of redressing historical imbalances in the South African researcher cohort.
‘I feel really honoured to have won in this category as I initially struggled to get a Thuthuka Grant. I kept attempting with support from Professor Gert Kruger and Professor Thavi Govender,’ said an elated Naicker. ‘It was not expected as competition is very high at national level,’ she added.
The announcement was made at a ceremony held in Port Elizabeth.
Naicker is the first researcher from UKZN to win an award in this category since its inception in 2011.
Naicker has been part of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, since 2013, and is consistently rated in the top 10 young researchers at UKZN. She has also won awards from the Department of Science and Technology.
She is currently the first female Editor in Chief of the 100-year-old South African Journal of Chemistry.
Naicker serves on the executive committee of the South African chapter of the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World. The organisation provides research training and networking opportunities for women scientists throughout the developing world at different stages in their careers.
Naicker was extremely honoured by the award and thanked her students, mentors and collaborators at the Catalysis and Peptide Research (CPRU) unit for her success.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: College of Health Sciences, Professor Busi Ncama congratulated Naicker for her excellent achievement. ‘We are happy to see our young academics outshine others in research and flying the UKZN flag up high,’ Ncama said.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini