Michael Samways, internationally renowned biologist and researcher, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University. Samways is known for the multidisciplinary approach he adopted in his research – a trademark that was already evident in his PhD thesis which likened the whole-animal acoustic output to Sherringtonian neuron firing. His unique approach has successfully enabled him to study a diverse variety of subjects covering a broad spectrum, including pest control in citrus farming, insect conservation, landscape ecology, environmental ethics, and tropical island restoration. The creativity inherent in his research approach has led directly to the findings being practically implementable, rather than contributing purely on a theoretical level.
Michael Wingfield, Professor and Director of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria, has undertaken pioneering research in the field of tree pathology, focusing largely on its impact on plantation forestry. He is also Director of Centre of Excellence in Tree Health Biotechnology and Tree Protection Co-operative Programme. Amongst his most important contributions to forestry has been the role that he has played as an advisor to more than 60 Ph.D. students, many of whom now hold very senior positions globally. He has published widely on the topic of tree health in more than 700 research papers, seven books and in numerous prestigious invited presentations globally. He serves/ has served in many prestigious positions and based on his research, has received numerous awards and honours, in South Africa and elsewhere in the world. He has been elected as a fellow of scientific societies including the Royal Society of South Africa, Academy of Science of South Africa, the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology and the American Phytopathological Society.