NRF CEO, Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, Named Engineer of the Year

NRF CEO, Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, Named Engineer of the Year

The National Research Foundation (NRF) Chief Executive Officer, Dr Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, has been named Engineer of the Year by the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) at its 2022 Annual Awards held at the Indaba Hotel and Conference Centre in Johannesburg on Friday, 10 March 2023.

Dr Nelwamondo was one of few awardees at the prestigious ceremony. The SAIEE Engineer of the Year Award is conferred on a member of the SAIEE judged to have energetically and voluntarily worked towards promoting electrical science and its applications for the benefit of its members and the Southern African community. The SAIEE is a voluntary professional association representing about 6 000 electrical and electronic engineers, technologists and technicians across Southern Africa.

A Senior Member and a Council Member of the SAIEE, Dr Nelwamondo is a registered Professional Engineer (Pr. Eng) with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). He holds a BSc and a PhD in Electrical Engineering in Computational Intelligence from the University of the Witwatersrand.  Dr Nelwamondo is also a Senior Member of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE), a global technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. 

The SAIEE recognised Dr Nelwamondo’s extensive research and vast practical experience in software engineering, computational intelligence and optimisation in various applications. He has published over 140 academic articles in the disciplines. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg’s Institute of Intelligent Systems and prior to taking over the reins of CEO at the NRF in April 2021, he held executive positions at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and has served on several Boards, Councils, Ministerial Task Teams and Advisory Committees. 

Dr Nelwamondo expressed his gratitude for this prestigious award and its significance in emphasising the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the progression of society at large. “It is indeed a huge honour for me to receive this award. For me, any award from the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers is a huge honour. I am deeply honoured for this recognition. I would like to acknowledge the immense hard work of many people in our National System of Innovation, in which electrical engineering sits at the core, who play a role that made this award possible. I would like to thank the team of employees and students working with me for their incredible effort. Without their excellent performance, I would not be receiving this award. Many thanks to my family for allowing me time off to work on some of the national challenges,” he said.

The Engineer of the Year Award is the latest addition to a string of accolades Dr Nelwamondo has received over the years for his contribution to Science, Engineering and Technology (SET). In 2017, he was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe Silver, the highest civilian honour bestowed by the President of the Republic of South Africa. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University and was the youngest South African to receive the prestigious Harvard-South Africa Fellowship.

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