Page 27 - UCT2012 Research Dashboard

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Research Dashboard
Distinguished Woman
Scientist in Physical and
Engineering Sciences
Professor Alison Lewis graduated with a BSc (Chemical
Engineering), MSc (Chemical Engineering), and PhD, all
from the University of Cape Town. She is a registered
professional engineer and a professor in the Department of
Chemical Engineering at UCT. She is also the UCT Orator.
Her interest in chemical engineering grew after she was
inspired by the realisation that the practical application
of mathematics and chemistry was fundamental to
the field. She started a new group specialising in
crystallisation and precipitation research, and the
group has since become an accredited research unit
at UCT. The research unit is funded by a range of
national and international companies and consists of
five staff members, one postdoctoral researcher, and
15 postgraduate students. Since the research unit’s
inception, 24 master’s and PhD students have graduated
and between them, they have published more than 100
international peer-reviewed publications, a patent, eight
book contributions, and 85 conference presentations.
Both her MSc and PhD degrees focused on applied
mathematical models for water treatment, and her
research interests revolved around water treatment
and, more recently, water refining.
Professor Lewis’s research highlights crystallisation as a
tool to purify metals such as platinum, palladium, and
rhodium, as well as its potential to treat contaminated
water such as acid mine drainage. She believes that it is
essential to design water-treatment processes that are
sustainable; they must not only produce pure water, but
also recover the contaminants as useful products. This
is one of her main research focus areas.
Professor Lewis has received a number of awards and
honours, including the 2010 NRF President’s Award
for Research Capacity Development and a number of
best conference paper and poster awards. She is also a
member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and
a fellow of the South African Academy of Engineering.
Award for the
Development of Rural Women –
Emerging Researcher
Dr Sindiso Mnisi Weeks completed her DPhil in Law in
2009 at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes
Scholar. She is a graduate of the University of Cape
Town, from which she obtained a BA and LLB, both with
distinction. Dr Mnisi Weeks is currently a senior researcher
in the Centre for Law and Society (formerly the Law, Race
and Gender Research Unit) at UCT, working on the rural
women’s action research programme, which combines
research and policy work on women, authority, and
property in terms of customary law. During 2011 and 2012,
she was also a senior lecturer in UCT’s Department of
Private Law, where she co-taught African Customary Law.
Her publication work spans customary law, women’s rights,
traditional institutions, and the Constitution. Dr Mnisi
Weeks has successfully supervised 17 student interns,
fieldworkers, and research assistants. Her publication
record includes eight peer-reviewed journal articles, three
book chapters, and several legislative submissions.
Her main focus has been with rural women’s exclusion from
law-making and decision-making practices in traditional
communities, as well as their participation in national
legislative processes. Using methods that include rural
women’s participation, she has publicly challenged these
forms of exclusion and the implications they have for rural
women’s ability to attain social and economic security.
Dr Mnisi Weeks’s current research focuses on vernacular
dispute-resolution forums in South Africa, and she has been
actively involved in the co-ordination and representation of
the multisector resistance to the passing of the Traditional
Courts Bill. Her experience includes policy work, public
education, and media publicity. As an emerging researcher,
her recognition at an international level is steadily growing.
She has been invited to contribute to publications alongside
senior academics abroad and to deliver one of the keynote
addresses at an international conference due to be held in
Brazil in 2013.
Dr Mnisi Weeks is a former clerk of the Deputy Chief
Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Dikgang
Moseneke. She has won the Ismail Mahomed South African
Law Reform Commission Essay Competition, among other
awards. She was named one of the 200 Young South
Africans (in the business and law category) by the
& Guardian
in 2011, and she was part of the Law, Race
and Gender research team that was awarded the Social
Responsiveness Award by UCT in 2011.
Professor Alison Lewis