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Professor Faizal Bux, the award-winning Director of the Institute for Water and Waste Water Technology (IWWT) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), has won the prestigious NSTF Water Research Commission Award for his research on wastewater as a resource and not a burden to society.

Prof Bux received the award during the NSTF-South32 Awards ceremony, the flagship project of the National Science and Technology Forum, last night (Thursday, 30 July 2020), during a live online broadcast.

The elated Prof Bux said that he was thrilled and honoured to be recognised by his peers for his contributions. “There was a large number of nominations but only five finalists for this category from leading institutions nationally. I won the prize in this group. The NSTF-South32 Awards is regarded as the Oscars of the scientific community nationally and therefore, winning this prize is a reflection of the high quality of our outputs at DUT. It certainly further entrenches the credibility of the Institute for Water and Waste Water Technology as a leading player in the water sector. We will continue to strive towards impact driven research,” he explained.

The award gives recognition to leadership in water research, development and knowledge generation that considers transformation and growth of the human capital pipeline for sustainable water management in South Africa, over the last five to 10 years, considered either together or separately.

Prof Bux’s research focuses on investigating microbial contributions to wastewater treatment processes, with emphasis on optimisation and wastewater beneficiation.

He was honoured to have been selected as a finalist for two prominent awards in the ‘Science Oscars’ of South Africa. His first nomination was for the Lifetime Award, for which Prof Bux said he was extremely proud and humbled at being nominated among leading and globally-respected experts.
Annually, nominations are invited by the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) and Prof Bux was nominated by DUT’s Professor Sibusiso Moyo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC): Research, Innovation and Engagement (RIE) and a senior executive from Rand Water, Professor H.C Kasan.

The NSTF-South32 Awards are the largest, most comprehensive and most sought-after national awards of their kind in the country. The awards were established in 1998 as a collaborative effort with members and stakeholders to recognise outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology (SET) and innovation by SET related professionals, teams and organisations in South Africa. This includes experienced scientists, engineers, innovators, science communicators, engineering capacity developers, and organisational managers/leaders, as well as data and research managers.

DUT is extremely proud of Prof Bux and his team at the Institute for Water and Waste Water Technology, based at the Steve Biko Campus in Durban.

Prof Bux’s Biography:

Having worked at the University of Durban Westville, he joined Technikon Natal in 1994. His employment was based on initiating a research focus area in water, since research at Technikons was very limited. With limited infrastructure and equipment, he successfully managed to attract funding from the FRD (NRF) and Water Research Commission which was used for basic equipment and to initiate projects in consultation with water sector partners.

Within a few years they were approved as one of 13 developed Research Niche Area (RNA) in South Africa funded by the NRF.

In 2012, he successfully secured a NRF South African Research Chair (SARChI) on Optimization of wastewater treatment for developing economies, which was one of two awarded on wastewater research in South Africa.

Prof Bux’s research thrust since inception of his career was largely informed by the needs of the water sector, including water utilities, local government and society in general.

His primary research area has been in the field of wastewater treatment and beneficiation, with emphasis on identifying wastewater as a resource rather than a pollutant.

Over the last 25 years, he has established himself in the field both locally and internationally and has been very successful in securing key partnerships with collaborators. In this period, Prof Bux has been fortunate to develop his research profile and outputs from a small laboratory with little equipment at a Technikon to a world class facility with a dedicated building that has well-equipped laboratories and is respected globally for the quality of its outputs.

Pictured: Professor Faizal Bux

Waheeda Peters

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