29 January 2018

African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Excellence Awards (AUKNASE) 2017 Edition

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press release

Addis Ababa 28th January 2018 - African Union Commission recognises two distinguished African Scientist - Professor Robert Peter. MILLAR, a native of South Africa winner in the category of Earth and Life Science and Professor Malek MAAZA, a native of Algeria, winner in the category of Basic Science, Technology and Innovation of the 2017 edition of the prestigious African Union Kwame Nkrumah Awards for Scientific Excellence (AUKNASE). The award ceremony took place on Sunday 28th January 2018, during the 30th Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Governments, at the AU headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Prof. MILLAR has carried out world-class research on peptide regulators of reproductive hormones. He pioneered the discovery of the Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) prohormone, novel GnRH structures, and the first cloning of the GnRH I and GnRH II receptors. He has participated in, and led, a number of programmes developing GnRH analogues for use in a wide range of clinical pathologies. His research opened up market for the primary treatment of prostatic cancer, precocious puberty (the sole treatment), hormone-dependent diseases in woman (e.g. endometriosis) and for In Vitro Fertilization. Since 2016, he is the Director of the Center of Neuroendocrinology at the University of Pretoria.

Prof. MAAZA is the pioneer and the architect of nanosciences and nanotechnology in Africa. His long history in stimulating academic excellence and communication between academia, researchers, local communities and society within the continent gained him the international recognition by the UNESCO, bestowing him the 1st South-South Chair: the UNESCO UNISA Africa Chair in Nanosciences & Nanotechnology in South Africa. Prof. Maaza has pioneered and implemented numerous continental and national initiatives such as the African Laser Centre, the Nanosciences African Network, the National Laser Centre of South Africa (NLC SA) and the South African Nanotechnology initiative (SANi).

In her remarks H.E Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology explained that the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Excellence Awards is awarded at three levels - national, regional and continental with the objective to honour the African men and women who have distinguished themselves through their contribution in Science for African development. She added that the programme is a joint effort between the Commission and the European Commission.

The prizes were presented to the winners by H.E Mr Paul Kagame, the President of the Republic of Rwanda and incoming President of the African Union and H.E Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Each of the awardees received a cheque of 100,000 USD to further boast their research capacity in the fields of Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation and Life and Earth Sciences.

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