South African researcher wins $150,000 Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer Grant

Wits University, where Dr. Coetzee is based at the Global Change Institute

Dr Bernard Coetzee, a researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Global Change Institute, has been announced as the winner of the second, yearly $150 000 Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer (JWO) Grant at an event hosted by Oppenheimer Generations at Circa Gallery, in Rosebank, Johannesburg. He was selected from a record entry of 217 applications from 26 different countries in Africa.

The aim of the JWO Grant is to support an African-led research programme that has the potential to significantly contribute to the advancement of environmental and allied sciences, specifically to identify and address real-world issues that affect Africa.

Coetzee’s research aims to understand the impact of the use of artificial light in Africa and how it may increase vector disease transmission, such as malaria, zika and dengue fever.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity I have been given to undertake this important research. I look forward to expanding the network across Africa and collaborating in a way that makes our proposed solutions to the benefit not only of development and growth on the continent but also for the good health and wellbeing of our people,” said Coetzee, who is an honorary research fellow at Wits.

Bridget Fury, the head of the Oppenheimer Generations Philanthropies and chairperson of the JWO Grant expert panel, said Coetzee had presented a superb proposal and congratulated him for the award.

Under normal circumstances, the announcement of the JWO Grant 2020 winner would have been made at the Oppenheimer Research Conference (ORC), which takes place yearly. However, owing to Covid-19, the conference, has been postponed to May 10 to 12, 2021.

Photo courtesy / Wits University

Article by Jedidah Mwangi

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