The Science Forum South Africa – 2016 took place on 8-9 December at the CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
The 2016 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 in society;
- To promote international science, technology and innovation partnerships; and
- To create a platform for key science, technology and innovation actors, including senior government leaders, academics, scientists, industry, civil society, and students to interact.
The 2016 Forum focused on the social sciences and humanities, as well as the role of science in Africa’s development. The sub-themes, for the SFSA 2016 thematic tracks, included:
- Shaping humanity – the focus in this track will be on how social sciences shape our human experiences and behaviours to improve the quality of life for all human beings, and the world we live in, including a better understanding of what is required to uplift people in a sustainable manner.
- Preparing people for the knowledge economy – the focus in this track will be on the attitudes, education, experience, and abilities required individually and collectively to succeed in the knowledge economy, with a specific focus on achieving gender and demographic balance in an optimal functioning system of innovation.
- Open science and open innovation for Africa’s development – the focus in this track will be on what the impact will be on Africa’s development if there was a concerted drive to intensify collaboration among all stakeholders in the scientific and innovation enterprise, including through the enhanced dissemination and sharing of research results to maximise impact.
- Science transforming society – the focus in this track will be on how science, technology and innovation is changing society, how is it contributing to the improvement of the quality of living of all citizens and how we ensure ethical considerations are addressed and science-driven development is equitable and sustainable.
- A better world – the focus in this track will be on the sustainable solutions science, technology and innovation can provide to global challenges like poverty, inequality, inclusive development and a secure society, with an emphasis on the value of enhanced international collaboration in addressing these shared global challenges.
- Innovation shaping the industry of tomorrow – the focus in this track will be on how the exponential pace of progress in science, technology and innovation is disrupting every industry in every country and how the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome all attendees to the Science Forum South Africa 2016.
After the outstanding success of our first Forum held in 2015, we were determined to again provide a platform for open and dynamic debate on the role science should play in our society, especially on the African continent.
The rich Forum programme of more than 60 short seminars and individual lectures provide ample opportunity for the critical discussion and analysis, which is one of the hallmarks of our event. Staying true to the Science Forum South Africa motto, to ignite conversations about science, I look forward to
our collective interrogation on how to ensure science, technology and innovation contributes fully to the Africa’s growth and development.
I am delighted that in 2016, our Forum will have a special focus on the contribution of the social science and humanities to addressing many of our pressing societal challenges. The role of the social sciences in informing the determination of a living and minimum national wage, or in better understanding the high dropout rate at South African universities or in drawing lessons from South Africa’s experience in achieving peace and reconciliation after apartheid will notably feature prominently on our agenda.
As in 2015, the Pan-African science and technology agenda will again be in the spotlight. I specifically look forward to the presentations by several of the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award laureates as our Forum is also committed to celebrating African excellence in science.
Science Forum South Africa 2016 will be much more than the conference programme and exhibition at the CSIR International Convention Centre. An exciting public outreach programme aimed at enthusing especially our youth about science will take place throughout the Province of Gauteng, as part our “Science in the Streets” campaign.
I would like to express my appreciation to all who have contributed to the Forum’s organisation, especially our international partners such as the International Council for Science (ICSU), UNESCO, the African Academy of Sciences, the European Commission and many others. Science Forum South Africa is collective “Team South Africa” effort with invaluable assistance provided to the Department of Science and Technology by the National Research Foundation, the Academy of Science of South Africa, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Human Sciences Research Council and the South African National Space Agency.
I look forward to meet and engage with as many Forum participants as possible as we ignite conversations about science.