SAPECS-affiliated researcher and working group member Christo Fabricius and his team at the Sustainability Research Unit (SRU) have been awarded the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Engagement Excellence Award (Team Award) for 2014. This award recognizes excellence in academic engagement activities that are essentially educational in nature, and aim to promote integration of engagement in teaching, learning and research. Engagement in this context refers to the process of transferring, applying and shaping the university’s knowledge and resources with the broader community. The SRU ( received this award for its outstanding contribution to advancing NMMU’s strategic engagement priorities and goals over a sustained period of time, and for providing examples of best practice in the field of engagement.

Specifically, the SRU has been recognized for engaging in participatory research with communities and ecosystems in the Garden Route, running numerous capacity development workshops (like the SAPECS Winter School), and providing research and technical support to local organizations such as SANParks, the Eden District Municipality, ratepayers associations and communities. Researchers at the SRU are also heavily involved in teaching undergraduate courses in Earth Stewardship, Conservation Management and Aquatic Ecology at NMMU, and participating in community outreach events. The awards committee especially appreciated the coupling of the SRU’s engagement work with their peer-reviewed academic outputs.

Congratulations to the SRU and its partners for this wonderful achievement!