UKZN's youngest Professor Tricia Naicker. Picture: Supplied

Durban - UKZN's youngest Professor Tricia Naicker has been awarded the 2018 NRF Research Excellence Award for Early Career and Emerging Researcher in South Africa. 

Since the inception of this category in 2011, it is the first time a UKZN recipient has been recognised, the university said in a statement this week. 

The award acknowledges outstanding research excellence by current Thuthuka grantholders. 

The Thuthuka funding instrument is central to the NRF’s Human Capital Development strategy in as far as it relates to enhancing the research stature of Early Career / Emerging Researchers from designated groups, with the aim of redressing historical imbalances in the South African researcher cohort.

The announcement was made at a ceremony held in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, as part of the NRF’s national celebration of prestigious awards.

Naicker has been part of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Health Sciences at UKZN since 2013, and is consistently rated in the top 10 young researchers at UKZN amongst her other Department of Science and Technology awards. 

She is currently the first female editor in chief for the South African Journal of Chemistry that just turned 100 years old. 

More recently, Naicker also serves on the executive committee for the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World-South African National Chapter, which helps to provides research training and networking opportunities for women scientists throughout the developing world at different stages in their careers.

Naicker was extremely honoured by the award and thanks her students, mentors and collaborators at the Catalysis and Peptide Research (CPRU) unit for her success, she added at CPRU “leaders create leaders”.

Daily News