The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) will host this year’s Science Forum South Africa (SFSA) at its traditional home, with a number of exciting in-person sessions set to take place at the CSIR International Convention Centre (ICC) in Pretoria.
The opening event of SFSA 2021, the launch of the DSI’s 2020/21 Annual Report, will feature international speakers like Dr Martin Friede, coordinator for vaccine research at the World Health Organization. Dr Friede will deliver the keynote address on the efforts to establish a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine production hub in South Africa.
First held in 2015, SFSA brings together significant numbers of national and international participants annually to discuss the role of science, technology and innovation in addressing global and local challenges. Given the context of COVID‑19 and the associated restrictions on movement, last year’s event was hosted online.
Following the vaccination of large numbers of people across the world, and the easing of lockdown restrictions, the DSI will host some of the Science Forum sessions at the CSIR ICC. However, most of the sessions will be held online.
Taking place under the theme “Ignite Conversations about Science”, this year’s event will run from 1 to 3 December, with strict COVID-19 safety protocols being observed at the CSIR ICC and only a limited number of guests being allowed at the venue.
SFSA 2021 will provide scientists, researchers, academics, business people and the general public with a platform to discuss pressing global and local challenges including COVID-19, climate change, and the sustainable supply of energy and water.
The opening session on Wednesday, 1 December will include a panel discussion on South Africa’s pioneering science in response to COVID-19. Among the panelists will be Daniel Ndima of CapeBio, the local biotechnology company authorised to manufacture rapid COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits.
With a proud record of facilitating the formation of new partnerships, SFSA 2021 will remain true to its mission of advancing the pan-African agenda for science, while the closing plenary session on Friday, 3 December will focus on the special role of the humanities and social sciences in reinforcing South Africa’s efforts to combat COVID‑19.
The programme also features 56 parallel sessions in which participants will debate topical science and innovation policy themes within the context of major societal challenges. Topics will include the COVID-19 vaccination landscape in Africa; smart, green and sustainable transport partnerships; strengthening pandemic preparedness through knowledge transfer; and the future of South Africa’s hydrogen economy.
Details of the opening event:
DATE: Wednesday, 1 December 2021
VENUE: CSIR International Convention Centre, Meiring Naudé Road, Brummeria, Pretoria
TIME: 11:30 – 17:00
To register to attend the online sessions, please visit https://esastap.org.za/sfsa2021/