TWAS PRIZE FOR YOUNG SCIENTISTS IN SOUTH AFRICA
A “Declaration of Intent on Collaboration” with respect to the annual TWAS Prize for
Young Scientists in South Africa has recently been agreed upon jointly by the Academy
of Sciences for the Developing World (known as TWAS), the Department of Science and
Technology (DST) and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).
At the request of DST, and with the agreement of TWAS, ASSAf will be responsible for
implementing the agreement in terms of managing the selection process.
We set out below the main processes:
1. The awards will be for “candidates working in the different fields of the Natural
Sciences on a rotational basis”.
In even-numbered years (2006, 2008, etc) the award will be for an outstanding young
scientist working in one of the sciences not involving living matter, e.g. chemistry,
computer science, earth sciences, engineering sciences, mathematics, physics, and related
In odd-numbered years (2007, 2009, etc.) the award will be for an outstanding young
scientist working in one of the sciences involving living matter, e.g. agricultural sciences,
biochemistry, biological sciences, medical sciences, microbiology, and related
2. Letters soliciting nominations will be sent by ASSAf to the Vice-Chancellors of all
South African universities, as well as to other organizations employing young research
scientists, e.g. CSIR, Mintek, NECSA, SAAO, HartRAO, iThemba LABS, Element Six
Research Laboratory, SASOL, Water Research Commission, MRC, ARC, Council for
Geosciences, and others. These letters will be accompanied by a document listing the
regulations governing the awards, and, in particular, the matters that the selection
committee will take into account when making the award.
3. Institutions may nominate one or more candidates, and for each candidate they should
provide a clear motivation for the nomination, in the light of the criteria governing the
4. Nominees will be required to provide a full Curriculum Vitae with detailed publication
list, together with any information which would enable the selection committee to judge
the potential value of the research to society and the candidate’s contribution to capacity
development and to the public understanding of Science and Technology (S&T), as well
as contact details of three possible referees who may be approached by the selection
5. Academy members will be invited to indicate their interest in participating in the
selection process. The Council of ASSAf will appoint the members of the selection
committee, as well as the chair, who shall be a member of ASSAf Council. ASSAf will
invite DST to nominate a representative on the committee. Whenever possible, a TWAS
Fellow will be included in the panel (currently P Berjak, AH Coovadia, GFR Ellis, W
Gevers, V Mizrahi and D Reddy are TWAS Fellows).
6. Expert opinion on the work of individual candidates will be sought both through
referees and, where possible, assessors, while retaining the concept of panel members
whose expertise lies in the broad area of the applicants.
7. As minimum requirements, candidates shall
(a) hold at least a Masters’ degree ;
(b) be no older than 40 years of age on the date on which nominations close;
(c) work and live in the Republic South Africa; and
(d) have a good record of research publications in internationally recognized journals.
8. In line with the ethos of both ASSAf and DST, the selection committee will take into
account the level of excellence of the scientific research carried out, its perceived
potential value to society, and the success of the candidate in developing students and
contributing to the public understanding of S&T.
9. After the selection committee has decided on the successful candidate, it will make a
recommendation to the Council of ASSAf, for ratification.
10. Before announcing the name of the winner, ASSAf will send to TWAS a report of the
selection committee, together with a full Curriculum Vitae, a list of publications and a
photograph of the selected person, and a profile of each candidate.
11. TWAS will provide an amount of up to US$2,000 per year for the award. Normally a
single award will be made, but the money may be used for more than one prize. If no
prize is awarded in any one year, this money will not be carried over to the following
12. ASSAf will organise an appropriate ceremony where the winner will receive the
award. Normally the ceremony will be held in conjunction with the annual Awards
Ceremony and the Annual General Meeting of ASSAf. The award will be presented by
the Minister of Science and Technology or his/her high-ranking nominee, or another
13. Both TWAS and ASSAf will publicise the award, inter alia by including news of the
prize and a photograph (if available) in TWAS and ASSAf Newsletters and Annual
7 February 2007