Italian knighthood for UKZN professor Cristina Trois

Italian ambassador to SA Paolo Cuculi confers the honour on Professor Cristina Trois.
Italian ambassador to SA Paolo Cuculi confers the honour on Professor Cristina Trois.
Image: supplied

South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChi) in Waste and Climate Change and University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) academic Professor Cristina Trois has been awarded a knighthood and attendant title of Cavaliere del Lavoro for receiving the Ordine al Merito del Lavoro, the highest honour from the Italian Republic.

Trois, who was the first female dean and head of UKZN’s school of engineering, is originally from Sardinia, Italy, and has been an academic at the institution for more than 20 years.

The Order of Merit for Labour was conferred on Trois by Italian ambassador to SA Paolo Cuculi at the Italy-South Africa Joint Research Programme (Isarp) workshop at the university on Wednesday.

The national chivalric Ordine al Merito del Lavoro was founded in 1923 by King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy. It recognises citizens who have been "singularly meritorious" in agriculture, industry and commerce, crafts, lending and insurance.

"Trois has made considerable contributions to research and teaching in her field of environmental engineering, as well as to innovations around waste management and waste-water engineering and treatment in eThekwini."

"Trois has spearheaded initiatives such as ‘Engineering is a Girl Thing’, to encourage young women to pursue science and engineering, and was a first runner-up in the 2016 Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) Women in Science Awards (Wisa)," the university said on Thursday.

Her other achievements include the development of the innovative "cellular method" of land-filling adopted in Durban’s landfill sites, her contribution to the first African, World Bank-funded "landfill gas-to-electricity project", through which Durban produces 10MW of electricity from waste, and her current work on the multi-national research endeavor, the Hub for the African City of the Future.

"Trois is a C2 National Research Foundation-rated researcher and is also a member of the International Waste Working Group (IWWG), Southern Africa Regional Branch, coordinated by the United Nations Centre for Regional Development," UKZN said.

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