Great honour for budding researcher

Maricélle Botes’s long journey with the North-West University (NWU) has paid off. This final-year PhD student at the research unit for Law, Justice and Sustainability has been honoured with the Research Excellence Award for Next Generation Researchers in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Law category by the National Research Foundation (NRF).

This is in recognition of her outstanding academic performance and demonstrated potential for contributing significantly to innovation.

“My research delves into the legal framework for climate resilience in South African cities. It involves an in-depth analysis of city-level law-making, focusing on spatial planning and land use management by-laws,” she explains.

Through empirical research in three secondary South African cities, she is aiming to understand the current legal landscape and identify areas for improvement.

Preliminary findings suggest that while some municipalities have taken steps towards climate resilience, Maricélle says a significant gap exists in incorporating climate considerations into local by-laws. This research seeks to bridge that gap and provide actionable insights for policymakers and legislators.

“Receiving the NRF Excellence Award for Next Generation Researchers is a profound honour and a testament to the dedication and hard work I have invested in my academic journey thus far,” says an elated Maricélle.

Groundbreaking research unit

Maricélle is a PhD researcher in the NRF SARChI: Cities, Law and Environmental Sustainability (CLES) research chair, which forms part of the research unit for Law, Justice and Sustainability.

“The research unit utilises law to find innovative juridical solutions to advance justice and sustainability in South Africa and the region. The focus is on human vulnerability, environmental change, justice in practice and finance, trade and innovation,” explains Prof Mitzi Wiese, who heads the unit.

Maricélle attributes her success to support from academics such as Prof Wiese, colleagues, and supervisors such as Prof Anél du Plessis, extraordinary professor at the Faculty of Law, and her own network of family and friends.

“I have been part of the chair since its inauguration in 2019, first as an LLM student and then as a PhD student.

“This recognition means a great deal to me, as it underscores the value of the research I am conducting, its potential impact on our society and the different fields of law I am engaging with in my PhD research,” she concludes.

With Maricélle Botes is Prof Bismark Mzubanzi Tyobeka, NWU principal and vice-chancellor, Prof Dumi Moyo, dean of the Faculty of Humanities (far left), and Prof David Modise, dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (far right). She lives by her favourite quote that “Anything is possible if you've got enough nerve”.

Submitted on Tue, 11/14/2023 - 10:27