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National Research Foundation grants over $8 million to TUT’s B-rated scientist

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It is the National Research Foundation’s National Equipment Programme (NEP) that has awarded Professor Alvaro Viljoen, a B-rated Scientist and Director of the SAMRC Herbal Drugs Research Unit at Tshwane University of Technology, TUT over R8 million for outstanding research projects conducted at the SAMRC Herbal Drugs Research Unit.

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Prof Alvaro Viljoen.

This prestigious grant supports the acquisition, upgrade, or development of state-of-the-art research equipment following a highly competitive peer review process. Capital investment is usually required for major pieces of equipment that support multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research.

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Prof Viljoen expressed his elation on receiving the grant, which also served as the DSI-NRF Chair in Phytomedicine. My team’s ground-breaking medicinal plant research over the years has been recognized by this award, which is a testament to the work done by everyone on our team. I am extremely grateful that this new technology has been brought to our institution,” he said. TUT

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Professor Viljoen has published more than 280 peer-reviewed papers on phytochemical exploration and biological activity of indigenous medicinal and aromatic plants, and supervised more than 80 postgraduate students. According to his H-index, he is recognized nationally and internationally for his research.

A number of journals have elected him to their editorial boards based on his contributions to the field of medicinal and aromatic plants. A prestigious international journal in medicinal plant research, Journal of Ethnopharmacology (Elsevier) is edited by him. The World Academy of Sciences awarded Professor Viljoen the TWAS-ROSSA Award in 2013 for advancing the knowledge on safe and effective use of herbal remedies. He also received the SAAB Silver Medal for his outstanding contribution to botanical research.

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It is also important for Prof Viljoen to continue to drive himself in order to maintain research excellence and “to remain at the forefront of research in my area, to continue playing a leading role, and to produce research that will serve as a foundation for future research activities,” said Professor Viljoen.

Prof Viljoen’s research output, as well as the grant, should be proudly acknowledged by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Engagement, Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka. In her conclusion, she emphasized how the funding will help maximize the University’s strategic commitment to conducting high-impact research that will produce tomorrow’s graduates who are educated and prepared to make a positive difference in society.TUT

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