Congratulations to the URBWAT Team!


Vice Chancellors Awards

The prestigious annual awards ceremony was held on 31 October to recognise excellence amongst academic and professional and administrative staff. The awards are a key feature of the Council/Senate Dinner, where the leadership and stewards of the University converge to mark the end of the year and celebrate staff achievements.

Category winner: Innovation and Social Impact Award

Collaborators Professors Andrew Thatcher from the Psychology Department in the School of Human and Community Development, and Craig Sheridan from the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies are joint winners of the 2022 Innovation and Social Impact Award.

This award was introduced in 2019 and is now amended to align with the University’s definition of innovation, which is “the successful deployment of new research ideas or methods to benefit society.” In this context an innovation is any positive social impact arising from research findings, and/or commercial impact arising from new knowledge.

This accolade is for the project called URBWAT, administered by the Wits Commercial Enterprise team, which involved co-designing and installing constructed wetlands into an urban informal settlement to deal with the collection and treatment of greywater disposal.

Sheridan led the engineering design and water quality analysis, while Thatcher lead the ergonomic design and social science work. Other team members included Professor Karin Tonderski and Dr Genevieve Metson from Linköping University in Sweden; Dr Uwe Kappelmeyer from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany; Dr Chris Bode-Aluko, a postdoctoral fellow from Wits’ CiWARD; as well as a number of Masters’s and PhD students from School of Human and Community Development (Motshwaedi Sepeng, Boitumelo Malunga, and Hemal Jetha) and from the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies (Ruth Stephenson, Michael Wilkie, and Taraz Rawhani).

Wits Commercial Enterprise wishes to congratulate their team for the work they do to create social impact.

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