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UFS Chemistry wins dti award
2010-11-02

At the awards ceremony are, from the left: Director-General of Trade and Industry Mr Tshediso Matona, Prof. Andreas Roodt and the Deputy-Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Bongi Maria Ntuli.
Photo: S Osman

The research group of Prof. Andreas Roodt, Head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein, won the first prize in the category Development of Small Medium and Micro-Enterprises (SMME) at the annual Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) award ceremony.

Prof. Roodt received the prize for the high-technology project Development of novel nuclear pharmaceuticals in the Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP).

The Deputy-Minister of Trade and Industry Bongi Maria Ntuli, and Director-General Tshediso Matona presented the prize at the gala dinner held at Gallagher Estate, Gauteng in October 2010.

The dti’s Annual Technology Awards recognise excellence in research and aim to raise awareness on the benefits of using technology to improve the competitiveness of enterprises, within the local and global arena. Individuals and organisations are recognised for their efforts in advancing and promoting technology interests and emerging enterprises.

The technology awards cover the achievements of three of the dti technology programmes collectively, namely THRIP, managed by the National Research Foundation (NRF); the Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII) managed by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC); and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (seda) Technology Programme (stp).

Prof. Roodt, also vice-president of the European Crystallographic Association, who has just returned from a series of lectures abroad after being elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK, has received funding in excess of R3 million over the past two years to set up a specialised laboratory for synthesising active compounds. Key partners in this project are Dr Gerdus Kemp from PETLabs Pharmaceuticals in Pretoria; Prof. Connie Medlen (pharmacologist), recently appointed affiliate professor at UFS Chemistry; as well as Prof. Deon Visser from the Inorganic Chemistry research group at the UFS.

The research aims to produce new nuclear medicinal agents for the early diagnosis of cancer, heart and brain defects, and even HIV/ Aids.

Two doctoral students, Alice Brink and Marietjie Schutte, are currently actively involved in this project. They are the recipients of prestige scholarships introduced by the UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, under the UFS Research Initiative (the Advanced Biomolecular Systems Cluster) to complete their Ph.D. studies.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
2 November 2010

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