Sasol Inzalo Foundation produces new generation of science and engineering leaders

08 July 2016

Johannesburg, South Africa – On Thursday, 7 July 2016, more than 100 science and engineering university graduates, mostly women, were recognised for successfully completing their respective degree courses ranging from undergraduate to doctorate level. The students are participants in the Sasol Inzalo Foundation (SaIF) Science and Engineering Undergraduate Bursary Programme and the Science Fellowship Programme.

These two programmes, run under the auspices of SaIF, have seen 105 black students graduate in the past year. Of these, 70 students are from the Science and Engineering Undergraduate Bursary Programme and more than 35 are from the Science Fellowship Programme.

“We are very proud of our recent graduates and the role we have been able to play in contributing to broadening the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent pool in South Africa. The STEM disciplines are the cornerstones of development and are vital to sustain and grow economies.  This group of graduates are representative of the talent and skills we need for South Africa’s future,” said Dr Yvonne Muthien, Chairperson of Sasol Inzalo Foundation.

“Sasol has a long, proud heritage in contributing to and enhancing science and engineering education in South Africa. We work hand in hand with a broad range of partners in government, academia and business in deepening this important field of education. We are proud of our graduates and believe they represent the success that can be achieved through nurturing talent and collaborating with partners,” said Nolitha Fakude, Executive Director and Executive Vice President, Strategy and Sustainability, Sasol Limited and member of Sasol Inzalo Foundation Board of Trustees.

SaIF seeks to make a significant contribution to sustainable economic growth in South Africa, by focusing on skills development, primarily in STEM education through initiatives aligned to the National Development Plan. Since 2008, SaIF developed and funded initiatives in line with the following mandate:

  1. Alleviate school bottlenecks;
  2. Boost the vocational skills pool; and
  3. Create tertiary educational opportunities in South Africa.

In order to fulfil the “C element of our mandate” i.e. creating tertiary educational opportunities, SaIF runs three Bursary programmes, namely the Science and Engineering Undergraduate Bursary Programme, the Science Fellowship Programme and the Education Fellowship Programme.

The Science and Engineering Undergraduate Bursary Programme

The Science and Engineering Undergraduate Bursary Programme invests in students pursuing studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Over and above financial support, the programme offers students additional non-financial support, such as social support and access to Sasol’s wellness programme, including optometry if required. Since 2010, the programme has funded 510 students with a focus on  women.

The Science Fellowship Programme

The Science Fellowship Programme aims to groom and graduate skilled Masters and PhD Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry researchers to expand the pool of Chemistry and Environmental Science researchers from previously disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa and to build research capacity at historically disadvantaged universities. These include University of Venda (Univen), University of Limpopo (UL), University of Zululand (ZL), University of Fort Hare (UFH), Walter Sisulu University (WSU), North West University (NWU) (Mafikeng campus), and University of the Free State (UFS) (QwaQwa campus). Through this programme, Sasol leverages its technical expertise by having scientists from its Group Technology function, who mentor students in the programme and also hold lectures on specialised courses at the universities in need. These goals are also in line with those of the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

“The SaIF leverages strategic partnerships to make a tangible difference to the lives of hundreds of students, while contributing to entrenching South Africa as a destination of innovation,” added Muthien.

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