The 2013 JD Roberts Award for emerging researchers was presented to Alize le Roux of the CSIR.

The award is a long-standing tradition between Murray & Roberts and the CSIR’s Built Environment. This year both parties agreed to call for nominations of emerging researchers to recognise and celebrate the contributions of younger colleagues within CSIR Built Environment.

JD Roberts award winners

Sibusiso Sibisi, CSIR Executive, Alize le Roux, winner of the 2013 JD Roberts Award, Katekani Ngobeni and Kishan Tulsi, both runners up and Henry Laas, Murray & Roberts Group Chief Executive

The award is usually bestowed on more seasoned researchers’ work over an extensive period. The two categories will in future be celebrated every alternate year.
Alize Le Roux is a geo-informatics scientist in spatial planning and systems who has made substantial and innovative contributions to many high profile projects and initiatives by consistently providing technical leadership and innovation over the past six years. Le Roux has already supervised two Honours students at the University of Pretoria and been invited to deliver a number of presentations on her work.

About the award
The annual JD Roberts Award is a prestigious event for both Murray & Roberts and CSIR Built Environment. It is an occasion to pay tribute to the memory of Dr Roberts and the bond between the two bodies, as well as recognising the outstanding contribution by researchers.
She has been applying her knowledge in a wide range of disciplines such as urban and regional development and planning, and related fields. Le Roux’s area of research includes regional socio-economic and environmental analysis, geo‑informatics, planning support systems, data management, urban simulation, land-use change modelling and risk and vulnerability analysis.

The ‘spirit’ of the JD Roberts Award for emerging researchers remains unchanged. It is awarded based on the relevance and potential improvement to the quality of life of people of South Africa; the innovation, uniqueness and distinction of the work; the potential uptake and practicality of the research in the relevant sector and the potential impact of the research.

Three highlights of Le Roux’s technical expertise, innovation and peer recognition include:

  • Developing a widely accepted settlement typology for South Africa, for the continuum of urban and rural areas.
  • Identification of vulnerable settlements in South Africa in a CSIR-wide project where she bridged the interdisciplinary gap between social, economic and environmental analyses within the field of risk and vulnerability.
  • Contribution towards work done in support of local municipalities to enable them to adopt land-use change models as part of the authorities’ urban and regional planning processes.

Le Roux received a Kruger rand and a cash prize, while the two runners-up also received cash prizes. According to the panel of judges, the competition was fierce and the presentations made by the three CSIR finalists were of an outstanding quality.


Dave PhelpThe CSIR has lost one of its very strong, dedicated and respected people – coastal engineering expert Dave Phelp. A fit person, he had an unexpected heart attack while cycling in October 2013. Dave worked in the Stellenbosch coastal engineering and port infrastructure group, which he headed as research group leader. He was a former recipient of the JD Roberts Award, whose work was recognised in the development of innovative methods for effective monitoring of harbour and coastal structures which play a major role in ensuring the safety and integrity of coastal facilities.