Diane Hildebrandt is an internationally acclaimed engineer and scientist who is working in an area of great potential benefit to society in general and Africa and South Africa in particular. She is a SARChI Professor of Sustainable Process Engineering and Director of the Centre of Material and Process Synthesis (COMPS) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She obtained her BSc and PhD in Engineering and Chemical Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand. Hildebrandt has authored or co-authored over 80 scientific papers and has received 306 citations in the past three years. She is the first female chemical engineer to have been awarded an A rating by South Africa’s National Research Foundation. Hildebrandt’s research over the last 25 years has focused on improving the efficiency of equipment and chemical processes. Her work is of particular importance for Africa and is being used to help solve Africa’s energy and food needs. She has supervised and co-supervised 55 postgraduate students who have received masters and PhDs in Engineering and Science. She currently supervises 40 postgraduate students of whom about half are South African and the other half from the rest of Africa. These students are funded mostly by the COMPS group that is directed by Hildebrandt. The group raises more than R1.5 million annually to supply bursaries to these students.
Eugene Cloete is Vice–rector, Research and Innovation at Stellenbosch. He has made many notable contributions to the field of Microbiology, both in South Africa and elsewhere. His career has also been distinguished by the fact that he has applied much of his research in a policy context both nationally and internationally. Much of this policy work has concerned reducing the rates and impacts of water poverty, identified as one of the Millennium Development Goals and also as one of the key threats to achievement of these goals. Recognition of his scientific achievements in the field of science and policy generally has been reflected by his substantial research outputs, and invitations to serve on the editorial boards of some of the world’s most prestigious journals.