Frank is a German citizen and came to SA as part of the Excellence Programme of the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina investigating waterborne uranium migration in mining areas of Germany, South Africa, Australia and Namibia.
As former head of the Rewatering Research Programme of the South African gold mining industry in the Far West Rand Winde is intimately familiar with mining-related environmental challenges. Winde and the Mine Water Re-Search Group he founded led a number of high-profile investigations into mining-related risks including the highly publicised study on AMD risks in central Johannesburg (‘Winde Report’), impacts of peat mining on water flow and quality, uranium contamination in the Wonderfonteinspruit and its impact on the water supply of Thlokwe, heading the international Specialist Task Team on remediation of radioactive mine legacy sites on behalf of the National Nuclear Regulator, and being appointed co-chief assessor for evaluating Phase VII of the International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO.
Since 2016 Winde chairs the IGU Commission of Water Sustainability. He is reviewer for over 30 ISI-listed scientific journals and frequently advises national and international science funding bodies as well as governmental departments, municipalities, industry as well as civil society on scientific issues.
The MWRG, in collaboration with the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the WHO and the HZDR in Germany, currently investigate effects of uranium exposure in gold mining areas of the Witwatersrand on the burden of disease in affected residents.
Jointly supported by the German and South African Academies of Science Winde, in 2017, organised an international conferences on the sustainable use of abandoned mines focussing on the innovative solutions. At this conference Winde and his team presented first results of a study supported by Eskom and Sibanye-Stillwater exploring the use of deep level mines for generating and storing energy.