2020/21 Medal for Social Sciences and Humanities

Professor Monique Michal Marks

Professor Monique Michal Marks

This nomination is based on the sustained research, innovation and engagement track record the Durban University of Technology's Urban Futures Centre (UFC) Team has built over the last few years. This nomination recognises the outstanding role of the UFC in reducing the impact of CoVID-19 on the most vulnerable in our society, that is homeless people with a drug use disorder.

UFC's responsiveness to the pandemic was made possible by their long-standing record of running substantive engagement programmes together with network actors, both state and non-state.

Professor Monique Marks currently heads up the UFC. Over the past five years she has developed a special interest in drug use disorders and drug policy. She, together with a team from TB HIV Care directed South Africa's first opioid substitution demonstration programme.

DUT Urban Futures Team

DUT Urban Futures Team

Professor Albert Wöcke

The CoVID-19 crisis has provided a series of challenges and opportunities for business and for business schools. One of the greatest challenges facing business schools is to teach relevant and appropriate cases or theory that directly addresses the challenges and opportunities businesses are facing at this point in time. A series of shorter case studies (or caselets) is the solution that the University of Pretoria's Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) devised in response to this challenge. While developing new theory takes time, shorter cases that could be taught in the short-to-medium term were seen as ideal. GIBS' research team was well positioned to produce a series of shorter cases to help students solve real problems faced at the height of the pandemic while also providing timely and good quality material to the broader academic community.

Professor Albert Wöcke

Professor Priscilla Reddy

Professor Priscilla Reddy

The Human Sciences Research Council's CoVID-19 research team was at the forefront of South Africa's social sciences research response to CoVID-19. From as early as the third week in March 2020, the team initiated a range of qualitative and quantitative studies to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of the public and various at-risk populations regarding CoVID-19 and the impact of the lockdown measures on their lives. Findings of these studies led to the launch of what became known as the "street talk" series.

The research team consisted of about 150 individuals including senior researchers and medical students from multiple universities. The team is currently engaged in designing and conducting "One Year Later" CoVID-19 surveys on, amongst other matters, vaccine preparedness in the respondents.

Professor Priscilla Reddy is a Behavioural Science and Health Promotion specialist and is currently the Strategic Lead: Health and Wellbeing, in the Human and Social Capabilities programme within HSRC.

Dr Nic Spaull

Dr Nic Spaull is a Senior Researcher at Stellenbosch University's Economics Department that conducts Research on Socioeconomic Policy (RESEP). His research centres on education policy in South Africa with a focus on inequality and early grade literacy and numeracy. Dr Spaull initiated the National Income Dynamics Study - Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM), a nationwide consortium of more than 30 researchers from six universities, to measure the impact of CoVID-19 in South Africa. This has generated over 30 academic working papers in less than a year and has been cited by the President. Dr Spaull comments regularly in the media and advises numerous policymakers in government and decision-makers within philanthropies and non-governmental organisations in South Africa.

Photos of the team may be viewed on: https://cramsurvey.org/about/

In our concluding edition tomorrow we will publish profiles of the last four of eight teams nominated in the Teams category.