A number of top South African scientists and researchers have been listed in Apolitical’s 100 Most Influential Academics in Government for their efforts in the Covid-19 frontline.
The list recognises academics from around the world and their work that’s influenced the policy-making process in government by adding relevant and informative data.
Apolitical is a global platform for government that helps public servants find experts and partners they need to solve challenges facing societies.
This year, six South Africans were highlighted in Apolitical's list for their contributions to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
The academics who used their expertise to advise the South African government included:
- Professor Glenda Gray, President and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
- Professor Shabir Madhi, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor of Vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand
- Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, Deputy Director, Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town (UCT)
- Professor Michael Sean Pepper, Director, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria
- Professor Taryn Young, Director of the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care and coordinator of the MSc in Clinical Epidemiology at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University
- Professor Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (Krisp)
According to Apolitical, the 2021 list recognised academics working in five timely policy areas that are the focus of government work around the world.
The areas represent problems being faced by governments around the world. They include recovery from Covid-19, employment and skills, social policy, climate and sustainability.
“Good political leadership is essential if governments are to be more effective today and better prepared for the future. The millions of civil servants around the world responsible for finding and implementing new policies cannot do their jobs without the support of principled and skilled elected officials,” according to the online platform.