SA scientists to jet off to Dallas, Texas to compete in the Regeneron ISEF

A group of six outstanding young scientists from South Africa will travel to Dallas, Texas in the USA where they will showcase their scientific brilliance on the global stage at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

These exceptional individuals won the opportunity to represent the country following their successful entries in the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF) held in December 2022.

This year’s Regeneron ISEF will be a fully in-person event where 1,700 learners from around the world will be competing for more than R165 million in prizes, including bursaries and various gadgets. South African learners who will compete, include:


Brandon de Greef, Grade 12 at Crawford International Ruimsig in Johannesburg



Brandon conducted a noteworthy research project, entitled “Evaluation of powdered insulators for High Voltage Applications,” which aimed to assess the effectiveness of eco-friendly chemical compounds in serving as insulators for High Voltage applications. The project’s objective was to identify a compound with superior insulation capabilities that could potentially replace the current High Voltage insulators. His project is a potential answer to replacing the current High Voltage insulators.

Keitumetse Sebatlelo, Grade 11 at Carleton Jones High School in Merafong, Gauteng South


Keitumetse’s research on “Predicting the likelihood and severity of sinkholes occurring in Khutsong from underground water pipes”, identifies and analyzes sinkholes in the region. With approximately 2500 sinkholes in South Africa, mostly in Gauteng, her study is a valuable contribution to mitigating the issue. By investigating factors that contribute to sinkhole formation and severity, her research sheds light on the problem and provides insights for future efforts.

Enzo Blignaut, Grade 10 at

Paul Roos Gimnasium in Stellenbosch




Enzo’s research on “The impact of land use type and distance downstream on the general river health and water quality in the Eerste River, Western Cape, South Africa” uses miniSASS to monitor the health and water quality of the river. His study shows that agricultural practices and sewage spills significantly affect water quality. Enzo’s research has practical applications in the management of the Eerste River, providing a deeper understanding of the factors influencing its health and water quality. As a valuable contribution to environmental research, his project has implications for future studies in the field.

Matthew Witbooy, Grade 12 at Curro Durbanville in Stellenbosch


Matthew’s research on “Land use effects on soil quality in Philippi, Western Cape, South Africa”, shows a significant link between human activities and soil quality. By comparing high and low activity areas in Philippi, Matthew demonstrates the potential health risks associated with soil contamination due to harmful bacteria from increased human activity. The research highlights the importance of adopting sustainable land use practices to minimise these risks.

Tyla Shepstone, Grade 10 at Somerset College in Stellenbosch


Tyla’s research project, “Smart system for hazardous gas and heat detection and an alert system for households”, provides a cost-effective and reliable solution for early detection of fires and gas. Her scalable fire and gas alarm system can detect heat and gas early and send out alerts. With the potential to save lives, Tyla’s innovative device is accessible to everyone due to its affordability and reliability. It represents a significant contribution to home safety and has the potential to become a widely adopted solution for fire and gas detection.

Yu Tang (Milo) Shan, Grade 12 at St John’s College in Johannesburg



Milo’s research project, “Soil Moisture Artificially Intelligent Regression in Domestic Garden Environment to Conserve Water,” offers a groundbreaking method to predict soil moisture levels in domestic gardens. Utilising the latest technologies of the fourth industrial revolution, Milo’s optimised and cost-effective system aims to help gardeners conserve water and create more sustainable and environmentally friendly gardening practices. Accurately predicting future soil moisture content, Milo’s work harnesses the power of technology for the benefit of the environment and society.

Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Sumaya Nassiep, extended her congratulations to the young scientists who are heading to compete at the Regeneron ISEF, saying: “The hard work, dedication and innovation, which has led to this remarkable achievement of our local learners being provided a unique opportunity to showcase their skills and talent on an international stage, is commendable. Other aspiring scientists are encouraged to take inspiration from these bright minds and develop an interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI). These fields play a crucial role in driving innovation, creating jobs, and boosting the economy. Eskom believes that investing in education and the youth is vital to unlocking South Africa’s full potential.”

Regeneron ISEF 2023, the world’s largest pre-college Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition, will take place from 14 to 19 May at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. All of the ceremonies and major panels will be live-streamed via the Science for Society website.

Registration to take part in Eskom Expo is open. Learners in grades 4 to 12, along with learners from TVET colleges that are in NC2 to NC4 can register their projects by clicking here.


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