The Future of the Natural Science Profession

Moderator:
Prof Robin Crewe
Panellists:
Dr Butana Mboniswa
Dr Engela Van Staden
Dr Nelson Torto
Ms Matshidiso Matabane
Prof Tshilidzi Marwala

Dr Butana Mboniswa

Butana Mboniswa is a Director at Inqaba Biotechnical Industries (Pty) Ltd, and previously a Scientist at AECI and CSIR. InqabaBiotec is a Life Sciences company based in Pretoria, with subsidiaries in East and West Africa. The company provides biotechnology services and employs Scientists and technicians. Butana is also a Board Member at the Black Science, Technology and Engineering Professionals (BSTEP), a not-for-profit organization that promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, Innovation and Mathematics in communities across South Africa.

Dr Engela Van Staden

Dr Engela van Staden is the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Teaching, Learning and Community Engagement at SefakoMakgatho Health Sciences University. She was the Chief Director in the Department of Higher Education and Training responsible for inter alia human resource development for the higher education system, enrolment planning, establishing the new universities and new entities such as the SA Maritime Institute, academic programme management, planning the national information and application service known as the CAS, distance learning, demerger of the University of Limpopo, establishing SMU as the third new University, developing the reporting regulations and analyzing the universities financial annual reports and annual performance plans. One of her responsibilities as a project manager was the planning of the function shift of the Agricultural colleges and the Nursing Colleges.

She was involved in various National and International projects, either as a member or project leader, where the projects contributed to Middle Management Capacity Building, Institutional restructuring, Curriculum development, Quality assurance, Strategic planning, and Information Technology Improvement and the development of performance indicators for the UoT sector.

She presented various key note addresses and papers at national and international conferences with specific focus inter alia on Globalization of Higher Education; Planning within the transformation phase of higher education; Funding and resourcing higher education, Quality risks in the merger process; Transformation from a Teaching and Learning perspective.

She started her career as a high school teacher in Physical Science, Biology and Mathematics in Mogali city / Krugersdorp and was seconded as Acting Deputy Principal to the Johannesburg College of Education – Gifted child centre during this period. She became a Senior Lecturer in Natural Science Education at the then Technikon Northern Gauteng in Soshanguve and later the Dean of the Faculty of Education. Thereafter her career changed to Strategic and Institutional Planning which was necessary in terms of the merger of Technikon Northern Gauteng, Technikon North West and Technikon Pretoria, which became the Tshwane University of Technology.

Many plans, policies and technical reports, from an academic, national and institutional perspective have been produced through her pen.

Dr Nelson Torto

Nelson Torto is the Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), a pan African organisation which  drives sustainable development in Africa through science technology and innovation.

Prior to joining the AAS, he was the founding CEO of the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), which values cocreation and empathy. He was the Head of Chemistry at Rhodes University, and Associate Professor  at the University of Botswana. He is a recipient of several international awards, has served in various capacities in African and international networks and organisations as well as editorial boards.

Ms Matshidiso Matabane

Dr Matshidiso Matabane (Pr. Sci. Nat) is the Information Officer at the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP). She recently graduated for her PhD at University of Limpopo. She graduated for MTech Degree in Agriculture at Central University of Technology (Cum Laude) in 2012. Moreover, she received the Vice-Chancellor’s award for the best post graduate student at Central University of Technology and the S2A3 award in 2012. She has presented at national and international conferences as well as published in peer reviewed journals. She also supervised post graduate students at various universities.

Prof Robin Crewe

Prof. Robin Crewe is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship and a member of the Social Insects Research Group in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria. He has worked for many years on chemical communication and social organization in a variety of social insects. His current research is on honey bee social organization and population dynamics with a view to ensuring that this biological resource can be used sustainably into the future for the supply of bee products and to provide pollination services.  He is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, a fellow of the African Academy of Science, and a fellow of the World Academy of Science. He received the Gold Medal of the Academy of Science of South Africa in 2013. He is a past president of the Academy of Science of South Africa and of the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) and currently serves on the councils of NASAC and the World Academy of Science (TWAS). He is co-chairing the IAP study “Harnessing Science, Engineering and Medicine to address Africa’s challenges”.

Prof Tshilidzi Marwala

Tshilidzi Marwala is the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg beginning on 1st January 2018. From 2013 to 2017 he was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalization and from 2009 to 2013 he was the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment both at the University of Johannesburg.  From 2003 to 2008, he progressively held the positions of Associate Professor, Full Professor, the Carl and Emily Fuchs Chair of Systems and Control Engineering as well as the SARChI Chair of Systems Engineering at the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. From 2001 to 2003, he was the Executive Assistant to the technical director at South African Breweries. From 2000 to 2001 he was a post-doctoral research associate at the Imperial College (then University of London).

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (magna cum laude) from Case Western Reserve University (USA) in 1995, a Master of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pretoria in 1997 and a PhD specializing in Artificial Intelligence and Engineering from the University of Cambridge in 2000. Marwala completed the Advanced Management Program at Columbia University Businesses School in 2017 and completed a Program for Leadership Development at Harvard Business School in 2007. His research interests are multi-disciplinary and they include the theory and application of artificial intelligence to engineering, computer science, finance, social science and medicine. He has published 12 books in artificial intelligence, one of these has been translated into Chinese, over 300 papers in journals, proceedings, book chapters and magazines and holds four international patents. His writings and opinions have appeared in the magazines New Scientist, The Economist and Time Magazine.

The South African Council of Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP) is a statutory Council responsible for the registration of professional scientists. A survey was undertaken to assess the contribution by Voluntary Associations (VA’s) and affiliated registered scientists towards the realisation of national development imperatives within the National Systems of Innovation (NSI) framework. It outlined the key activities of the VA’s and the challenges included funding constraints, policy coordination, demographic transformation, quality of natural science at the basic education level, recognition and knowledge development.

Recommendations that relate directly to SACNASP as a regulatory body included enhancing efficiency of a coherent registration and database management system across all VA’s, supporting the development of natural science educators through targeted initiatives by VA’s and enhancing public exposure to the natural sciences for better recognition through strategic initiatives. The report further recommended that government should provide funding for VA’s and the natural science profession and ensure a more effective education management system for rural and township schools. Industry and key stakeholders also have a critical role to play through funding of targeted initiatives such as bursaries, scholarships and workplace integrated learning. The key deliverable of this session is to develop an action plan for adoption by key stakeholders from the perspective of addressing the National Development Plan.

2018-11-14T18:01:08+00:00