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07 August 2023

Written by Jan de Beer on behalf of the Cement & Concrete SA (CCSA)

Cement & Concrete SA (CCSA) has presented its Young Concrete Researcher Award for 2023 to Janina Kanjee, who is currently completing her PhD studies in Civil Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. SA’s consolidated body for cement and concrete matters singled out the 34-year-old for her “significant contribution to the advancement of cement and concrete through research excellence in the South African environment”.

Kanjee holds MSc (Eng) and BSc Civil Engineering degrees from the University of Cape Town.  Currently a lecturer at the WITS School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, she has extensively researched subjects such as concrete durability, testing and assessment, as well as rehabilitation and maintenance.

Criteria for the prestigious biennial CCSA award, introduced at YCRETS 2021, comprise published papers in accredited journals, presentations at peer-reviewed conferences, postgraduate supervision, dissertation and paper reviewer experience, as well as participation in industry-related activities in South Africa.  

In addition to Kanjee’s impressive academic research record, she has also shown her passion for the industry by serving as a board member of the erstwhile Concrete Society of SA and conference chairperson for the CCSA YCRETS 2021 organising committee. Furthermore, she was actively involved in establishing the Wits South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) Student Chapter in 2017 and the Wits Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE) Student Chapter in 2019 – the latter a first student chapter in South Africa for the  internationally-renowned UK institution.

Five candidates were nominated for the CCSA Young Concrete Researcher Award 2023 award. The others in contention were:

  • Dr Alice Bakera of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania;
  • Nikhiel Budhai of building materials supplier, Upat SA;
  • Dr Jacques Kruger of the University of Stellenbosch; and
  • Dr Sanjeev Kumar of the University of Virginia, USA.

The award adjudicators, Bryan Perrie (CCSA CEO), Prof Mark Alexander (UCT Emeritus professor and CCSA Board Member) and Hanlie Turner (CCSA Business Development Manager), agreed that Kanjee met all the requirements in an exemplary manner. Prof Mike Otieno, Head of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at WITS – who had nominated Kanjee – praised the judges’ decision and felt all five nominations were “worthy and deserving”.   

Reacting to receiving the award, Kanjee said: “I am deeply honoured. My heartfelt thanks go out to the organisers, judging panel, and everyone involved in this journey for their unwavering support, encouragement, and belief in the potential of young researchers.

“This award motivates me to push the boundaries of cement and concrete research further to advance our understanding of concrete materials, explore innovative construction techniques, and promote sustainable practices to benefit both society and the environment,” she stated.

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