The South African Population Research Infrastructure Network (SAPRIN) has won the prestigious 2019/2020 National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) ‘Data for Research’ Award.

SAPRIN Director Dr Kobus Herbst, from Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI), and co-Director Professor Mark Collinson, from the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), accepted the award at the virtual NSTF-South32 prize giving on Thursday, 30 July.

Also known as the ‘Science Oscars’ the annual NSTF Awards recognise outstanding contributions to science, engineering, technology and innovation in South Africa. The NSTF Data for Research Award recognises an individual or team who has advanced the availability, management and use of data for research.

SAPRIN is a major national research infrastructure, funded by the national Department of Science and Innovation and hosted by the SAMRC, which draws together and harmonises South Africa’s health and demographic surveillance sites (HDSS), and leads efforts to develop new national infrastructures in urban settings. The Network’s aims include providing up-to-date and accessible longitudinal data representative of South Africa’s fast-changing poorer communities, and through this creating an evidence-base for policy making and targeted intervention programmes to improve the health of poorer South Africans. Together with Agincourt and Dimamo, AHRI is one of SAPRIN’s founding HDSS nodes, covering a population of 140 000.

“As SAPRIN we are honoured to receive this award from the NSTF,” said Dr Herbst. “SAPRIN provides a key contribution to the country’s information base. In the context of Covid-19, our data is a critical tool to help understand and combat the pandemic in South Africa. We are delighted to be acknowledged by the NSTF for our contribution.”

Top photo: Dr Kobus Herbst (left) and Prof Mark Collinson