South Africa, Pretoria – The Science Forum South Africa 2020 comes through with a lot of promises expectations this year when it starts at the CSIR under the theme “Igniting conversations about science”.
The annual three-day summit, which starts today, will feature renowned local scientists, professors Quarraisha and Salim Karim, who will deliver the plenary lecture.
The two internationally acclaimed South African scientists are well known for their work on HIV/Aids and the Covid-19 pandemic.
They recently received the prestigious “500 years of the Strait of Magellan Award” in recognition of their pioneering scientific work and contribution to humanity.
Due to Covid-19 prevalence, the forum will be hosted physically at the CSIR for the first day only, while the rest of the sessions will take place on virtual platforms.
The Department of Science and Innovation, which is the host, believes even without the opportunities for informal networking, the forum will still do justice to its theme.
Minister Dr Blade Nzimande is expected to open the event followed by messages from the forum’s strategic international partners, including the AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor.
The event will be hosted in collaboration with the South African Human Sciences Research Council’s Radical Reason Consortium, a body of South African social sciences and humanities institutions engaged in a series of knowledge-stimulating activities.
Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the various science, technology and innovation partnership initiatives that the department has led as part of SA’s chairing of the AU this year, and as usual, pan-African co-operation in science will be a significant focus of the forum agenda.
Through the European South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme, there will be a special focus on co-operation with the EU, with several sessions presented by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the Africa-Europe Innovation Partnership.
The forum programme will also comprise 32-panel discussions and debates, all interrogating the critical interface between science and society.
There will be sessions on topics such as the future of transdisciplinarity in research, African histories of technology, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the future of data protection.
The forum will end on Friday with a series of panel discussions interrogating the role of science in advancing social justice, which will be the theme for South Africa’s hosting of the World Science Forum next year.