The Science Forum South Africa – 2015 took place on 8-9 December at the CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
The 2015 theme was: “Igniting conversations about science.”
The Science Forum South Africa is inspired by events such as ESOF, AAAS, and the Japan Agora.
The key objectives of the Forum are:
- To create a platform for a vibrant debate on the role of science, technology and innovation and society in South Africa;
- To strengthen South Africa’s strategic international science, technology and innovation partnerships;
- To create a platform for senior government leaders, academics, scientists, industry, civil society, and students to interact.
The sub-themes, for the SFSA 2015 parallel sessions, included:
- Responding to societal challenges
Interrogating the socio-economic impact of STI, e.g. within the context of the National Development Plan
- Skills for the knowledge economy
Focusing on the importance of and challenges for STI-orientated human capital development
- Showcasing South Africa’s best
A platform for highlighting flagship South African science success stories, especially those related to international partnerships
- African eyes on the sky
Providing a public platform for discussion about various aspects of astronomy in Africa including the SKA project
- Science agenda for Africa
A platform for discussing regional and continental partnerships to advance Africa’s growth and development
- What does the scientist say
Interrogating the role of science in informing policy- and decision-making, including with regard to topics prominent in public debate
Welcome to the Science Forum South Africa
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the first edition of the “Science Forum South Africa.” Our Forum is partly inspired by the “open science” conferences convened with great success elsewhere in the world. Through our Forum, it is our goal to provide Africa with a similar type of event, which will enable a dynamic debate on the interface between science and society.
I am delighted that the Forum has succeeded in bringing together scientists, government officials, industry leaders, students and representatives from broader civil society, not only from South Africa and the rest of the African continent, but also from our international partners from the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Thank you all for taking the time to join us.
Over the two days, we are looking forward to a rich debate on topics such as the harnessing of innovation to advance sustainable development, especially within the context of fighting poverty, unemployment and inequality. Topically, given the current negotiations in Paris, the role of science and technology in enhancing our ability to mitigate and adapt
to climate change will also be in the spotlight.
Other themes, which I have no doubt the Forum will spark vibrant conversations on, include how to best use scientific advice for policy- and decision-making; improving science’s response to societal challenges; and the challenges associated with human capital development for the knowledge economy. Africa’s agenda for science, technology and innovation will be a priority focus.
The Forum will also witness the launch of the new “Science International” partnership involving the International Council for Science (ICSU), the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the Inter-Academy Panel (IAP) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC).” I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Science International partners for their active support to the Forum.
As networking will be a essential part of proceedings, I am confident that the Forum will not only make an important contribution to enriching the global science and society debate, but will also be a platform for strengthening old and developing new partnerships. Strengthened international friendship is indeed valuable capital for our joint efforts to put science at the service of our societies, across borders.
I would like to wish one and all an enjoyable and stimulating event. Do not hesitate to engage in debate – the Forum’s success will depend on your active contributions. Let us ignite the conversation about science!