Thumbi Ndung’u, SANTHE Programme Director, Director of the HIV Pathogenesis Programme (HPP) and Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) Investigator, has been elected as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).
ASSAf was inaugurated in May 1996 by its patron, Nelson Mandela. It was formed in response to the need for an academy of science congruent with the dawn of democracy in South Africa. Its mandate encompasses all fields of scientific enquiry and it includes the full diversity of South Africa’s distinguished scientists. The Parliament of South Africa passed the ASSAf Act (Act 67 of 2001), as amended, which came into operation in May 2002. As such, ASSAf represents the country in the international community of science academies.
Membership of the academy comprises the country’s most outstanding scholars. New associates are elected every year by the full existing membership in order to achieve ASSAf’s goals. The criterion for election is significant achievement in the advancement or application of science, and the expectation that the new member will assist the Academy in achieving its objectives. ASSAf claims that this is where its strength resides, “In the quality and diversity of our membership; internationally renowned scholars elected by peers, who give of their time voluntarily in the service of society.” The Members are regarded as the “brains trust” of the nation and ASSAf uses them as a collective resource for evidence-based solutions to problems.
Ndung’u says “It is a great honour and privilege to be elected a member of the academy. I am grateful to my family, many mentors, colleagues and students who have made my work and career in HIV/AIDS and TB research an exhilarating journey. We are winning the battle against the two major infectious killers our time- and collectively we can make this continent and the world much better places to live in for future generations.”