Reasons to be Proud. Distinguished Professor in Botany Richard Cowling has received a Gold Medal from the ASSAf Academy of Science. This is the apex award of the Academy and the South African science system. Furthermore, the award was in recognition of outstanding achievements by individuals.

Outstanding Achievement

Up to two gold medals are awarded per annum for outstanding achievement in scientific thinking for the benefit of society. This year, The other medal was awarded to Prof Glenda Gray. She is the first female South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) president and an NRF A-rated scientist.

Prof Richard Cowling is a respected academic par excellence and an exemplary champion of biodiversity conservation. Also, a phenomenal mentor and an inspiration and friend to many.

Academy of Science Gold Medal

Prof Cowling’s internationally recognised research in plant diversity and evolution, conservation science, restoration ecology and paleoecology has been ground-breaking and significant, contributing to theory and firmly embedded in practice.

Furthermore, his well-recognised body of work includes over 400 peer-reviewed contributions, including many in top journals. Also, a feature on ISI’s 250 most highly cited researchers in Ecology & Environment (2005), has led to global recognition.

Foreign Member of the USA National Academy of Sciences

Amongst other accolades, he has an NRF A-rating spanning five evaluation periods from 1998 to 2021. Further, he was elected as a Foreign Member of the USA National Academy of Sciences – one of only nine South Africans to receive such an honour.

Such impact, while globally relevant, has remained true to its core purpose – having profoundly influenced the protection of South Africa’s vibrant biological diversity.

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