Recognising scientific excellence

10 November 2021

CAPRISA’s Associate Scientific Director Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, has retained her  National Research Foundation (NRF) A rating based on the quality and impact of her research outputs over the past 8 years. The NRF defines an A-rated scientist as ‘a researcher recognised by all reviewers as a leading scholar in his/her field internationally for the high quality and wide impact (i.e., beyond a narrow field of specialisation) of his/her recent research outputs’.  The announcement was made at the prestigious NRF 2020/2021 Awards hybrid event hosted on the 2nd of November to recognize outstanding achievements made by individuals whose excellence has significantly advanced science for the benefit of society.

Abdool Karim’s research over the past 32 years has focused on understanding the evolving HIV epidemic; factors contributing to the increased vulnerability of HIV infection in young women and evaluation of women-initiated HIV prevention technologies. Abdool Karim co-chairs the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 10 Member Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) and a member of the PEPFAR Scientific advisory Board, the Board of Directors of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (USA). She is the UNAIDS Special Ambassador for Adolescents and HIV and member of the Steering Groups for the WHO Covid-19 Solidarity Therapeutics Trials and Vaccines Trials. 

In her welcome address, Dr Nompumelelo Obokoh, Chairperson of the NRF Board said, “Amidst the despair and grief brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are also many stories of selflessness, kindness and courage that continue to restore our faith in humanity and inspire us to dream of a better tomorrow. Even during this turbulent time, our researchers have continued to nurture the country’s knowledge economy in many other scientific fields as well.”

Rhodes University honoured CAPRISA’s Director, Professor Salim Abdool Karim and conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) (honoris causa) at a virtual graduation ceremony held on 29th October for his leadership in guiding South Africa’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Our nation owes you an inestimable debt of gratitude and appreciation for all that you have done to give much hope to many South Africans and for being a passionate advocate of science to guide the South African response to COVID-19, “said Rhodes University’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela. “In the many public briefings on COVID-19, you have always provided extremely lucid explanations and unambiguous information for the South African public and explaining the scientific basis for the government’s response to the pandemic,”

“In the course of both the HIV and COVID-19 pandemics, I have personally witnessed the importance of staying true to science and evidence,” said Abdool Karim.

In the photo: left, CAPRISA  Associate Scientific Director, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim & right, CAPRISA Director, Professor Salim Abdool Karim