9:30-10:00 Public policy and international partnerships in the era of global technological disruption: lessons from the SA-EU Dialogue Conference on the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Presenter: Dr Michael Gastrow

Dr Michael Gastrow

Michael Gastrow is a Chief Research Specialist in the Education and Skills Development research programme at the Human Sciences Research Council. His research is focussed on science, technology, and skills development in their social context. This scope includes research into the co-evolution of innovation and skills, public perceptions of science, and science communication. Gastrow holds a PhD in Science Journalism from the University of Stellenbosch. His current research is focussed on the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, for which automation, digitalisation, and biotechnology are seen as the core drivers of economic and social change. He is currently leading a South Africa – EU Dialogue on the 4th Industrial Revolution, and also providing research support to the Department of Science and Technology’s strategy and policy development initiatives in this area. Gastrow has authored two books: The stars in our eyes: representations of the Square Kilometre Array telescope in the South African media (2017, HSRC Press), and Linking universities and marginalised communities (2015, HSRC Press with Kruss). He has also edited Capability Building and Global Innovation Networks (2015, Taylor & Francis, with Kruss).

In the days leading up to the Science Forum South Africa, the South Africa – European Union Dialogue Facility, in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology and the Human Sciences Research Council, held a multi-stakeholder Dialogue Conference on ‘Disruptive technologies and public policy in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’. The Conference aimed to inform the development of SA-EU strategic partnerships, as well as policy options for responding to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Disruptive technologies are impacting on some of the key sectors that underpin SA-EU relations, such as automotive manufacturing, mining, ICTs, agriculture, and health. Key technology platforms for disruption include industrial automation, digitalisation, machine learning, additive manufacturing, and genetic modification, amongst others. Stakeholders from affected sectors, and active in disruptive technology domains, contributed to the Dialogue through reflection on partnership and policy options in the context of digitalisation, Industry 4.0, the future of work, inclusive economic growth, disruptive technologies in the public sector, and the development of policy framework conditions (including legal, standards, IT-infrastructure, and cyber security). This Science Talk reflects on the key results of the conference, and aims to stimulate discussion about key issues and options in the age of technological disruption.