Dr Peter Carrick has become one of five of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) scholars who were named amongst South Africa’s science and technology trailblazers when the winners of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)-BHP Billiton Awards were announced at a gala event in Johannesburg on the 21st of June 2012.
These NSTF-BHP Billiton Awards set out to reward excellence in scientific research, technological innovation, education, capacity building and communication. The UCT scholars were named among the finalists of no less than 18 categories of this year's awards.
Dr. Carrick heads the Namaqualand Restoration Initiative (NRI), a project that he initiated during the first phase of implementing the SKEP strategy and which he attained funding for from the Critical Ecosystem partnership Fund (CEPF) in 2005. The project undertakes to develop restoration strategies for mining areas in Namaqualand, and has been led by Carrick who is based at the Institute for Plant Conservation at the UCT. The restoration of natural landscapes after mining falls within SKEP’s vision of promoting a matrix of harmonious land uses.
Dr. Carrick’s NRI uses extensive and ongoing ecological research, and business and socio-economic common sense to design and implement restoration systems that restore globally important biodiversity and generate livelihoods through the rehabilitation of degraded lands. He combines ecological knowledge and research, an understanding of mining, and a passion for people into restoring landscapes in coastal and lowland Namaqualand.
Demonstrating that ecological dynamics of vegetation can enable successful restoration of even severely transformed landscapes, the NRI science-based protocols, training courses, and implementation systems effectively translate science into action. As a result of Dr. Carrick’s efforts, locally owned businesses are empowered to restore degraded mining lands and his model of science-based, pro-poor restoration is sustained by mining corporations’ investment into responsible practice for the long-term future of communities and biodiversity.
“The NSTF-BHP Billiton Awards are a major recognition of the impact of UCT's research” these were the sentiments of Professor Danie Visser, deputy vice-chancellor for research.
"The NSTF-BHP Billiton Awards cover a range of categories and disciplines – and are a reminder of the esteem and prestige with which UCT scholars, senior and up-and-coming and even retired, are viewed in the country," said Professor Visser. “The fact that our scientists were nominated in no less than 18 categories should serve as an illustration of the depth and scope of contributions that they do and can still make to South Africa, Africa and the world - we are very pleased with the university's showing in this year's event."