NSTF banner  
    Home  |   About  |   Awards  |   Nominations  |   Finalists  |   Winners  |   Activities  |   Education  |   Social Tools  |   Web & Video casts  |

About the NSTF Awards, in partnership with South32

The NSTF Awards honour and celebrate outstanding contributions to science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation in South Africa. The NSTF Awards is the flagship project of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF), in partnership with South32.

The awards encourage and reward excellence in:

  • Scientific research
  • Technological innovation
  • Environmental sustainability/Green Economy
  • Technology transfer
  • Education and training
  • Capacity building
  • Management
  • Communication and outreach

The NSTF Awards have been running since 1998, in partnership with South32 (resulting from the demerger of BHP Billiton).

Largest SET awards in South Africa: The NSTF Awards have grown to be the largest and most prestigious public SET and innovation awards in South Africa. The previous winners are widely recognised as worthy recipients. The NSTF Awards were established in 1998. This was just three years after founding the NSTF.

Endorsed by the DST: The NSTF Awards are endorsed and supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) since the inception of the awards. The Honourable Minister of Science and Technology is the official patron.

These awards are unique in South Africa: There are a number of reasons that the awards are special.

  • The NSTF Awards are the only awards that are open, where the Call for Nominations includes the public.
  • The process and awards event are collaborative.
  • The awards recognise a variety of outstanding contributions by individuals and teams. These include all practicing scientists, engineers and other professionals across the system of innovation. Categories include research for innovation, research capacity building, management and related activities, communication for outreach and awareness, and achieving environmental sustainability and the Green Economy.
  • Youth outreach is an integral part of the awards project. Top performing learners in mathematics and science in Grade 12 are recognised every year through the Brilliants Programme for our future innovators. There is also a year-long series of interactions with students and learners across the country, called Share ‘n Dare.

Nominations and adjudication process 
Nominations are registered online by the first deadline (usually in December). Full nomination documents have to be submitted by the second deadline (usually in March).

An adjudication panel of independent judges is assembled annually. It represents all sectors of the NSTF membership and, in the case of the sponsored categories, the sponsors. The adjudication panel reviews the nominations, identifies those that are eligible, short-lists the finalists and makes the final selection of winners.

A panel of experts is also appointed by the NSTF Executive Committee. These experts assist the adjudication panel by reviewing and providing validation of the selections.

Definitions of science, engineering, technology and innovation

Science Refers to the systematic study of the nature and behaviour of the material and physical universe. This is defined,in the broadest sense, to encompass both the natural and human sciences.


Considered as the practical application of this knowledge, especially in industry and commerce but also in human scientific fields.


Seen as the means with which science is converted into engineering and other applications, disciplines and undertakings.


Means the application, in practice, of creative new ideas. It includes inventions, discoveries and the processes by which new products and services enter the market and the creation of new businesses.

The generic value chain which links these elements together is expressed in the definition of our National System of Innovation (NSI). The value chain spans the stages of inputs, processes, outputs, impacts and outcomes. It specifically includes:

  • Research, development and creative work undertaken on a systematic basis. This is in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of people, culture and society and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.
  • Technology transfer activities associated with research, experimental development and contributing to the dissemination and application of scientific and technical knowledge
  • Scientific and technical education and training

Last updated: 1 November, 2015