David Glasser, Professor of Chemical Engineering and founder and director of the Centre of Material and Process Synthesis (COMPS) at the University of the Witwatersrand, was awarded the inaugural Fellowship in 2001. Said Glasser at the time “The Trust has set a good example of realising the potential of the people in this country. Given the high ratio of students to lecturers and professors, academics are under enormous pressure. In order to do top class research you want to be an innovator not a follower and this Award presents an opportunity to let the creative juices flow. We have been trying to develop ways of assessing how effective existing processes are, to extract useful methodologies and from this to synthesise new processes – we are looking at big opportunities and there are no prior fundamental methods of doing this. Spending two, six-month sessions in Australia, the Fellowship will give me freedom from normal responsibilities and, most of all, the time and space to think and share ideas with my peers.”

Glasser, who obtained his PhD at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, holds an A1 NRF rating and is a Fellow of the South African Institute of Chemical Engineering, the Royal Society of South Africa and the South African Academy of Engineering. He was awarded the SAIChE Gold Medal in 2000 and the National Science and Technology Forum’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2012 in recognition of his ground-breaking research and contribution to the development of sustainable and practical energy solutions.