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SARAO participates in third Science Forum South Africa
SARAO News #02 2018
The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) participated in the third Science Forum South Africa held on 7 and 8 December 2017 at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria.
Held under the theme Igniting Conversations About Science, the Forum is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology. More than 2700 participants from 60 countries and more than 60 exhibitors were welcomed to the 2017 Science Forum South Africa. More than 70 parallel sessions were held in 11 venues inside the CSIR International Convention Centre.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the keynote address, while Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor delivered the welcome address.
Other speakers at the opening plenary session included an address from the African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor; and Professor Mike Bruton, Founding Director of the Cape Town Science Centre.
Ramaphosa, addressing the Forum in his capacity as Chairperson of the Human Resource Development Council of South Africa, hailed the Department of Science and Technology for successfully hosting the Forum for three years.
“The Forum brings together thought leaders, scientists, government representatives, industry leaders, students and civil society organisations. Since its inauguration in December 2015, this Science Forum has become synonymous with building bridges to promote Africa’s growth and development through innovation and collaboration,” said Ramaphosa.
The Deputy President made it clear that the Forum should be an important learning opportunity for young people endeavouring to follow careers in science and technology.
“Today and tomorrow, millions of young people from our continent and across the world will be able to follow live on the internet our discussions and learn about inspiring, ground-breaking innovations. This Science Forum must rekindle hope in a world of unending possibilities. A world where imagination, innovation and scientific discovery allow us to dream of a better, more secure and more equitable future. We are confident that it will move the youth of our continent to exploit the many opportunities that exist in scientific careers. We have a responsibility to develop a community of young people that believe there is a future for science in South Africa and on the continent,” said Ramaphosa.
Minister Pandor welcomed senior government officials from several countries, policy makers, scientists, the science community, heads of organisations and members of the public to the Forum.
“You can look forward to a comprehensive programme of 70 parallel sessions, covering a broad range of topical issues with regard to the role of science in society. Science Forum SA has three objectives. First, to put science at the service of African society. It is through science that many of the challenges faced by our communities can be addressed. Second, to promote international collaboration. It is through collaboration that ties are strengthened, that science not only becomes stronger in Africa, but internationally, and that groundbreaking research is enabled. Third, to showcase African science and technology to the world. Too little is known about the tremendous contributions African scientists make towards global science,” said Pandor.
SARAO participated as an exhibitor and hosted a World Café, combining the use of an accessible space, e.g. a coffee shop, and simple but effective facilitation methodology for hosting large group dialogue on science, technology and innovation.
Stakeholders and members of the general public were led in a discussion and workshop sessions about the use of astronomy for tourism and sustainable development in South Africa.
The World Café programme started with a short panel discussion to introduce terms, outline the current status of astronomy tourism in South Africa; explore the challenges faced in the development of astronomy tourism; and introduce the topic for the workshop session.
On Friday, 8 December 2017 SARAO hosted two panel discussions. The first to take place was titled Towards the UN SDGs: Sustainable astronomy tourism for sustainable development, which aimed to ignite conversations about how astronomy can strengthen the South African brand and tourism; who should drive astronomy tourism in South Africa; how South Africa can learn from best practice in sustainable tourism and leap-frog the implementation process; and what the main priorities should be for authorities to help develop, innovate and implement sustainable astronomy tourism in South Africa.
Panel members included Prof. Phil Diamond, Director-General of the Square Kilometre Array Organisation; Anja Fourie, Science Engagement Manager at SARAO; Kevin Govender, Director, International Astronomical Union Office for Astronomy for Development; and Dr David Morris, Head of Department: Archaeology at the McGregor Museum in Kimberley.
The second panel discussion was themed Big Science, Human Development, and the Square Kilometre Array Telescope, reflecting on the relationship between the SKA and human development, drawing on theoretical debates at this interface, on the available evidence, and on the experiences and perceptions of members of the SKA organisation itself.
Big Data Attendees at the one-day work session which was held on 11 July 2017 at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation in Ghana to kick off the High Performance Computing training programme in Ghana.
Members of the nine SKA African partner countries concluded the Fourth Ministerial Meeting on the SKA in Accra, Ghana by signing a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on radio astronomy.
Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor watches on as the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cuts the ribbon at the launch of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory.
The launch of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory was covered 119 times in the media between 23 and 25 August 2017:
In Ghana: 24 times
In South Africa: 36 times
In other African countries: 8 times
Internationally: 51 times
The value of these placements is R6 983 234.17.
Last Updated on November 19, 2018