Empowering Internationalisation of South Africa’s Knowledge Enterprise

Moderator:
Dr Priscilla Mensah
Dr Thandi Mgwebi
Panellists:
Dr Jean-Paul Toutain
Mr Mervin Bakker
Prof Christian Acemah

Dr Jean-Paul Toutain

Dr Jean-Paul Toutain is the Attaché for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in South Africa. He is in charge of several mobility programmes implemented by the French Embassy together with South African partners (PROTEA mobility program for researchers, scholarship for post-graduate students) and contributes to the coordination and the development of the French programmes for research training. Prior to his appointment to this position in 2015, he held many high-profile positions, including Representative for ASEAN countries of Toulouse Federal University, Representative of IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) for Indonesia and East Timor, Senior Scientist at IRD, Geophysicist and Professor at the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, Vice-President of the French Volcanological Society and of the Physicists and Astronomers National Committee, and Scientist in charge of Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory. He is a geophysicist and volcanologist and has published extensively in international journals and at international conferences. He is also a reviewer for a host of international journals. Jean-Paul holds a PhD from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6).

Dr Priscilla Mensah

Dr. Priscilla Mensah is Director in the Human and Infrastructure Capacity Development Directorate of the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. Prior to joining the NRF, she held a number of positions at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa, including Deputy-Director: International Academic Programmes and Deputy Director of the Postgraduate School. She served as Director for the three consecutive summer schools of the Southern African Young Scientists Summer Programme (SA-YSSP) in Applied Systems Analysis hosted at the University of the Free State from 2012–2015. She has extensive knowledge of South Africa’s Higher Education and Training landscape and the National System of Innovation. She is a specialist in systems analysis with specific emphasis on science and policy within South Africa and beyond. In addition, she is a committee member of South Africa’s National Member Organization (NMO) of the International Institute of Applied Systems (IIASA). The work of this committee contributes to the national strategy for developing systems analysis capacity and establishing systems analysis as a research approach in the country. Priscilla holds MSc and PhD degrees in Chemistry from the University of Cape Town.

Dr Thandi Mgwebi

Thandi is a research and innovation leader currently serving as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement at Tshwane University of Technology. She holds a PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from the University of Cape Town, a Higher Diploma in Education, a postgraduate degree in Higher Education Management from University of Melbourne, Australia and a certificate in Management Development Programme from the Stellenbosch University Business School. After a postdoctoral research period, she worked at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as an early-career scientist, and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). In 2008, she joined the National Research Foundation as Director for Human Capacity Development and later as Executive Director for DST-NRF Research Chairs Initiative and Centres of Excellence, the national flagship programmes of the Department of Science and Technology (DST). Before joining TUT, she was Professor and Head of Research at the University of the Western Cape.

Mr Mervin Bakker

Mr Mervin Bakker has served asRegional Director for Southern Africa at Nuffic’s Netherlands Education Support Office (NESO) in Pretoria since 2017. NESOs are overseas offices of Nuffic and part of a worldwide network of Netherlands Education Support Offices that operates in locations of strategic importance for the Dutch knowledge sector. From 2011 until August 2017 Mervin was based in Jakarta (Indonesia) as Regional Director for the NESO offices in Southeast Asia. Before joining Nuffic Mervin held various international roles at the University of Amsterdam, was an education agent in Bangkok (Thailand)and worked in a student related business in Utrecht. He holds an MSc in International Economics & Economic Geography from Utrecht Universityand an MBA in Higher Education Management from UCL’s Institute of Education, London.

Prof Christian Acemah

Christian Acemah is Executive Secretary of the Uganda National Academy of Sciences. He is also Visiting Professor of African Studies at Quest University, Canada.  Previously, Christian was Director for Strategy and Program Development for the African Science Academy Development Initiative of the U.S. National Academies.  Christian has also served as Executive Officer, Policy and Research at UNICEF within the GAVI Secretariat.  He has worked in the Sudan-Uganda program of the Lutheran World Federation. He holds a first degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from St. John’s College and graduate degree in International Development Economics and Strategy from Georgetown University.

South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) outlines the need for strategic approaches to drive the country towards a competitive knowledge society and develop the required human capacity in key areas.Central to a highly productive, globally connected economy are high-level skills and extensive participation in higher education. Internationalisation of the country’s science and technology environment is critical in achieving the ambitious targets in the NDP.

The NRF’s robust and internationally recognised funding systems position it as a leading funding agency in Africa, using this competitive advantage to accelerate engagements between countries on the African continent in collaboration with international partners. Incrementally since its establishment, the organisation has witnessed growth in its regional and international visibility and profile, through a multiplicity of partnerships and collaborations: bilateral, trilateral, multilateral, strategic investments, and in investing in influential networks.
This session explores how to optimise the synergies between individual scientists, higher education institutions, science granting councils, research bodies andscientific and professional associations in South Africa and abroad, in order to enhance international scientific collaboration, contribute to the imperatives of redress and equity within the national science system and promote and support strategic human resource development as a contribution to the national system ofinnovation.

2018-12-07T13:00:13+00:00