The future looks bright for the ambitious young scientists who successfully exhibited their ground-breaking research projects at this year’s Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF), and walked away with a plethora of life-changing awards.
The top senior Eskom Expo ISF scientist, winning a R75,000 cash prize, was Yu Tang Shan from St John’s College in Johannesburg, for the research project entitled: “SMARter: Soil Moisture Artificially Intelligent”. The top junior Eskom Expo scientist, winning a R50,000 cash prize was Minje Le Roux from Durbanville Primary School in Cape Town, for the research project entitled: “Tricky Traffic”.
Brandon de Greef from Crawford International Ruimsig in Johannesburg was awarded the prestigious University of Pretoria/Dr Derek Gray Memorial Award for the research project entitled: “Powdered insulators for high voltage applications”. The award consists of the Derek Gray Gold Medal, attendance at the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar during Nobel Week, and a three-year study bursary in the sciences or engineering at the University of Pretoria, provided he meets the required criteria.
A total of 253 of South Africa’s top researchers and innovators competed alongside 17 international young scientists from Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mexico, Mozambique, Turkey and Zimbabwe from 7 to 9 December at the ISF held physically for the first time in two years.
Title sponsor, Eskom, actively invested in the country’s youth by sponsoring 27 full-time bursaries for recipients to study electrical engineering at a South African university of their choice. These bursaries will be awarded to the learners provided they meet the required criteria when they receive their matric results.
Nthato Minyuku, Eskom Group Executive: Government and Regulatory Affairs, said: “This was an exciting return to form for the Eskom Expo International Science Fair after a two-year physical absence. We are inspired to see young scientists tackle issues that affect their communities, including attempts to develop various solutions, from creating sustainable energy-efficient homes, to improving infrastructure to cost-effective green solutions. Eskom is proud to be part of Expo for more than 20 years, as the Expo provides greater exposure to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) activities from a young age, which is an important driver for transformation of our economy and the creation of a better world for all.”
Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Sumaya Nassiep, said: “Eskom Expo remains an important corporate social investment initiative for the Foundation, as it is the only national initiative that aims to create a pipeline of young innovators to serve across a range of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) industries. We were delighted to see that 153 of the 270 learners who took part this year were girls. Increased female participation in STEMI is key to tackling local and global challenges, which is why it’s important for Eskom Expo to continue making strides to achieve full and equal access and participation in STEMI activities for women and girls.”
One of the sponsors, engineering and digital technology giant Siemens, awarded nine lower quintile ranking schools in South Africa each with a Samsung public address (PA) system. The learners who won this prize for their school, each received a trophy and a tablet computer. Siemens also awarded a bursary to Ndivhuwo Malada from Bokamoso Senior Secondary School in Limpopo.
Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO for Siemens Sub-Saharan Africa said: “We are happy to be back at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists in-person, after a 2-year separation due to the ongoing Coronavirus.
Siemens is proud to be a continuous supporter of the Science Fair, contributing to STEM education in Africa, where it is desperately needed. Here, STEM related skills will greatly benefit the continent’s growth and development by building capacity for a knowledgeable and skilled local STEM workforce that will lead the way for Africa to reach global economic competitiveness and advance the continent in various fields including health, food production, infrastructure, environment and manufacturing.”
Siemens handed over various prizes to high performing students who presented commendable projects, including 3 full university bursaries for students pursuing engineering, 19 tablets and Samson XP1000B PA Solutions to the 9 best performing, previously disadvantaged schools in South Africa. All the winners were announced at a gala event on the 9th of December 2022.
“Our continued collaboration with the Eskom Expo solidifies our commitment to progressing the skills, development, and training of Africa’s future engineers. We are proud of all our winners and to be changing the lives of young Africans,” concluded Dall’Omo.
Other prizes awarded include the Meiring Naudé Award for the most inspiring project, which went to Dia Singh from St Dominics Newcastle High School in Kwa-Zulu Natal; while BABCOCK awarded laptops to Tumelo Ramokone (Capricorn), Debrorah MasMaswanganyi (Kwa-Zulu Natal), Chevonne Erasmus and Joël Vinger (Stellenbosch), Sibusiso Titus (Gert Sibande region), Nina Breitenbach and Zongile Klaas (Cape Town), Sanelisiwe Ndlela (Kwa-Zulu Natal) and Dia Singh (Kwa-Zulu Natal).
For the complete list of winners, click here.