The Discovery prize for the best honours project at a South African university 


Each participating university submits a research report by an honours student for the purposes of adjudication for this prize. The university generally submits one project, but may submit two if it thinks that either could be awarded the prize. The adjudication is undertaken by an Adjudication Panel comprising the members of the Research Committee.

The prize comprises:

  • an unconditional cash payment of R6000; and
  • one or more of:
    • a scholarship for registration for a masters degree or doctorate at a South African university;
    • the author’s costs of attendance at an international conference approved by the Research Committee; and
    • the author’s costs of attendance at a convention of the Actuarial Society of South Africa;

 subject to a limit of R20 000.

The degree should include a research component constituting at least 25% of the requirements for the degree. The scholarship is subject to completion of the masters degree or doctorate.

The payment for attendance at an international conference or a convention of the Actuarial Society is equal to the expenses incurred by the author in respect of travel, accommodation and conference fees in order to attend.

The scholarship and costs must be claimed within five years of the award being made. However, if circumstances warrant it, the Committee may extend this period at its discretion.

The prize is awarded by the President, or by a Council member on behalf of the President, at the prize-giving ceremony of the university concerned. If the prize is awarded to joint winners, the cash prize and the scholarship are awarded in full to each winner. The award of the prize is announced by the President at the following annual convention. 


  • 2001 – L Johnson, UCT: AIDS: modelling the impact of the epidemic in sub-populations 
  • 2001 – B Horwitz, Wits: Keeping promises: a contingent claims approach to meeting equity-linked product guarantees 
  • 2002 – B Shearer, UCT: The impact of HIV/AIDS on South African equities: a qualitative sectoral analysis
  • 2003 – N Bhagwan, UCT: Modelling the impact of HIV on tuberculosis
  • 2004 – J Seria, UCT: Modelling the future burden of asbestos-related disease in South Africa: a learning tool for the actuarial researcher
  • 2005 – N Naidoo, UCT: An analysis of some of the factors affecting African migration out of the former Transkei
  • 2005 – K Sinton, Wits: An interrelationship between the funding level and the investment strategy of a defined-benefit pension fund
  • 2006 – S Kransdorff, Wits: The pricing of liabilities in an incomplete market: a practical application
  • 2006 – A Addae, UCT: The pricing of Asian options
  • 2007 – S Diskin, Wits: Current issues in the South African retirement-fund industry
  • 2008 – Y Ou, UCT: A comparison between the LIBOR market model and the LIBOR Markov functional model
  • 2009 – D Hendricks, UCT: Investigating the use of genetically optimised neural networks to price European call options
  • 2010 – M Henderson, UCT: An application of extreme value theory to the South African stock market
  • 2011 – J du Plessis, UCT: Quantifying and managing the operational risk component of Solvency II using Bayesian networks
  • 2012 – W Lewis and F Xia, UP: Dealing in Junk: Money Makers or Money Takers?

The RGA prize for the best published paper 

Papers accepted for publication in the South African Actuarial Journal will automatically be considered for this prize. Members are also invited to submit papers published in other journals for consideration.

In order to be eligible for the best published paper prize, a paper must be published in a peer-reviewed journal in an issue published during the twelve months preceding 30 June of the year concerned. Papers with multiple authors will be considered, provided that a significant contribution has been made to the paper by an author who is a member of the Actuarial Society.

A cash award of R2000 is payable and is accompanied by a floating trophy. If there are more than two authors the amount of the cash award may be increased. In addition to the cash award and floating trophy, the author’s costs of attendance at an international conference, approved by the Research Committee, are paid. The payment is equal to the expenses incurred by the author in respect of travel, accommodation and conference fees, subject to a limit of R20 000. The payment must be claimed within five years of the award being made.  However, if circumstances warrant it, the Committee may extend this period at its discretion. 


  • 2002 - Anthony Dardis: Risk-position reporting in the South African life insurance industry 
  • 2003 - Nicholas Davies and Andres Kijko: Seismic risk assessment: with an application to the South African insurance industry 
  • 2004 - Rob Thomson: The use of utility functions for investment channel choice in defined-contribution retirement funds 
  • 2005 - Bruce O’Malley, Rob Dorrington, Stephen Jurisich, Julie-Anne Valentini, Taryn Cohen and Bernard Ross: An investigation of the mortality of South African assured lives 
  • 2006 - Leigh Johnson and Rob Dorrington: Modelling the demographic impact of HIV/AIDS in South Africa and the likely impact of interventions 
  • 2007 - Leigh Johnson and Rob Dorrington: The potential effect of an HIV/AIDS vaccine in South Africa 
  • 2008 - Anthony Asher: Mean Reversion in Investment Markets: The Implications for Investors and Regulators 
  • 2008 - Tom Moultrie and Rob Dorrington: Sources of error and bias in methods of fertility estimation contingent on the P/F ratio in a time of declining fertility and rising mortality 
  • 2009 - Heather McLeod and Pieter Grobler: The role of risk equalization in moving from voluntary private health insurance to mandatory coverage: the experience in South Africa 
  • 2010 – Leigh Johnson, Rob Dorrington, Debbie Bradshaw, Victoria Pillay-Van Wyk, Thomas Rehle: Sexual behaviour patterns in South Africa and their association with the spread of HIV: Insights from a mathematical model